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Iowa spring sports halted for 4 weeks

The same day that spring sports were officially scheduled to begin was the same day they were postponed.

Following Sunday’s announcement from Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, all spring activities of Iowa’s high school Unified Activities partners — the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union, the Iowa High School Athletic Association, the Iowa High School Music Association and the Iowa High School Speech Association — will be prohibited through Iowa’s recommended school closure of four weeks.

Gov. Reynolds announced the recommended closure in collaboration with the Iowa Department of Public Health in response to community spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Iowa.

This recommended closure date currently extends through April 10 and would mean a school return of April 13 at the earliest.

Girls’ golf and tennis and boys’ soccer, golf and tennis practices were scheduled to begin Monday across the state to kick off the spring season.

“Based on new information today from the Iowa Department of Public Health, now is the time to move to the next level of response,” Gov. Reynolds said in Sunday’s release. “I am now recommending that all Iowa schools close for a period of four weeks to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”

Per guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommending the cancellation of gatherings of more than 50 individuals for at least eight weeks, events following the planned four-week school closure in Iowa will be updated as the situation develops.

The Marshalltown Community School District accepted Gov. Reynolds’ recommendation and on Monday night in a school board meeting announced there would be no school through April 10.

“The cancellation extends to all athletic practices and competitions, performing arts practices and events, school-based after-school programming, and previously scheduled family engagement events,” the school announced in a statement. “Student and staff safety remains our district’s top priority.”

Girls golf was set to represent the first spring sporting event in the state on March 25. All IHSAA and IGHSAU sports are now in a prohibited period for practice, competition, and sanctioned activity until the closure is lifted. This prohibition means no in-person contact between coaches or administrators and student-athletes for the duration of the period.

Baseball was scheduled to begin limited practice time on April 1. The originally scheduled start date for baseball and softball practice — May 4 — remains for now.

Guidance on future IGHSAU and IHSAA activity schedule adjustments and their effects on season lengths, as well as postseason events, will be announced through iahsaa.org and ighsau.org.

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