BILLINGS — The Montana High School Association is "paying close attention" to news about the coronavirus, MHSA executive director Mark Beckman wrote in a post addressed to MHSA school administrators on Tuesday.

The MHSA's article provided links to various resources for administrators, including a Billings Gazette article from last week that reported how Montana education officials are advising schools to prepare for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. The MHSA also linked to an article from the CDC providing guidance for schools and to the NCAA's coronavirus resources.

"It is recommended that each district review information from the above entities and contact your local health departments ASAP to discuss contingency plans in case there are school closures affecting spring practices and regular season spring contests/meets," Beckman wrote. "The MHSA will continue to monitor this issue and any effects the virus may have on current MHSA post season events and will keep you posted.

"And, we will certainly keep you informed as to any new information we receive from any of these organizations, or other reputable sources."

Last week, the Office of Public Instruction recommended that schools carry out activities and events as scheduled, The Gazette reported.

As of Tuesday, nearly 100,000 people worldwide have been sickened by the coronavirus, and it has killed more than 3,000, according to the Associated Press. The number of new cases in China, where the outbreak started, has decreased in recent days, but that figure has risen in the United States. More than 100 Americans have been infected, and nine have died.

No cases of COVID-19 have been reported within Montana, but public health officials expect it to hit the state, The Gazette reported.

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