Monday was not a good day for many area high school athletes as the Blue Springs girls basketball team found out the state final four had been canceled and students across Eastern Jackson County learned that spring sports activities have been altered, postponed or canceled through March 30.
While several local school districts suspended spring sports events – including Blue Springs suspending all activities indefinitely – the Missouri State High School Activities Association offered a bit of hope Monday afternoon when it announced that it was not canceling the spring sports season or spring sports championships – at least for now.
MSHSAA said in a statement that it will keep the door open for now.
"We will stay in communication with state and local officials to help determine the possibility of holding our championships either as scheduled, or moving back into June if schools are still in session, to try to allow these experiences for our students," the statement read. "... We are not canceling all the spring sports at this time."
After hours of deliberation Sunday afternoon, Independence School District Superintendent Dale Herl and his cabinet members decided to cancel school – which starts with spring break – and all activities, including spring sports, through March 30.
"We talked about the possible spread of the coronavirus and the mayor came out and said that there could be no gatherings of 50 or more people – and we have some schools with up to 1,600 students and track and field teams with 100 or more students – so we felt like this was the right decision," Herl said.
"It was a difficult decision to make, but we believe it was the right thing to do. When I met with our cabinet we hoped to have a professional development day later in the week, with school days leading up to it.
"But after meeting from 1 p.m. to about 8:30 p.m. Sunday, we moved the professional development day up to (Monday), canceled school and we will go into spring break next week, so it’s not as bad as it might have been had we not had spring break.
"I know the students will be disappointed that there will be no spring practices of activities through the 30th, but we are thinking about them, and their safety."
The Blue Springs School District is in spring break this week, and administrators will examine the coronavirus situation and determine when students can return to the classroom.
"We will gather enough information to make the best decision regarding school closing, activities, and all other school-related events and services this week," a statement from the Blue Springs district read.
Blue Springs district activities director Mark Bubalo said Monday morning that the spring sports teams for Blue Springs and Blue Springs South high schools would be able to continue to practice during spring break.
But the Blue Springs district reversed that Monday evening and announced that it was suspending all activities indefinitely.
Fort Osage has canceled school and all activities through March 30.
"We are staying on top of things out here in the Fort Osage School District," Fort Osage High School principal Scott Moore said. "We are going to be closed the rest of this week. We were initially going to be here Monday through Thursday, and start spring break on Friday, but we are not going to go to school this week and will go into spring break next week.
"All activities – and that includes practices as well as games – will also be canceled. More information will come out in the next few weeks in regard to that."
Brandon Hart, the Grain Valley High School activities director, said the school is still formulating a plan in regards to spring activities.
"As of 4 p.m. Monday, we are going to allow spring practices," Hart said, "but that might change before press time. This is an hour by hour, day by day situation unlike anything we have ever experienced."
MSHSAA also announced it was not waiving its 14 days of conditioning requirement under the supervision of each team’s coach when or if spring sports resume.
"Therefore, giving a student a workout plan will not count toward the requirement while schools are not in session and unable to practice at the school," MSHSAA’s statement read. "When the students return this spring, they will start with the number of practices they had completed up to this date. However, if the school wishes to be more restrictive to require more than 14 practices, the school can."