BILLINGS — The Montana High School Association remains in wait-and-see mode about the 2020 high school spring sports season.
The MHSA Executive Board is "reviewing options for the continuation of spring activities," MHSA executive director Mark Beckman wrote Monday in an email to school administrators. Those options include different formats and restructuring for spring sporting events.
Beckman's email reiterated many of the points he made March 16, when the MHSA suspended the spring season indefinitely. The MHSA still plans to reevaluate the suspension April 13, Beckman wrote Monday, despite the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
"This plan allows for the possibility that all MHSA spring activities may resume and that they may be in a completely different format from the originally scheduled event," Beckman wrote. "Each sport and activity is different and as we review how we may resume, if possible, we understand there are different dynamics that may lend to an event not being able to be held. We are very cognizant of the possibility of conflicts especially in May however the Board will mitigate those conflicts to attempt to treat all activity participants in a consistent and fair manner."
Last Tuesday, Montana Gov. Steve Bullock extended his order closing K-12 schools and non-essential businesses from March 27 to April 10. Two days later, he issued a shelter-in-place order that is also set to expire April 10. President Trump extended social distancing recommendations through April 30 after expressing desire to relax those guidelines by Easter Sunday, April 12.
Beckman mentioned Bullock's shelter-in-place order and Trump's recommendations in Monday's email, adding that "we may be looking at restrictions being extended." Confirmed cases of COVID-19 have increased in Montana and the United States every day for weeks.
But the MHSA is not ready to further postpone or cancel the spring sports season yet.
"The MHSA Executive Board and Staff doesn’t want to give false hope regarding the resumption of spring activities, however we don’t want to make a decision when there still is hope," Beckman wrote. "There is not enough information at the present time on what the future holds."