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TSSAA Staying the Course on COVID-19 Response

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As of Monday, March 23, the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association is continuing with precautions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes the postponement of the state basketball championships and concurrence with Governor Bill Lee’s recommendations on suspending spring sports.

On Monday March 16, Governor Lee released the following statement:

“As the response to COVID-19 evolves, I urge every school district in Tennessee to close as soon as practically possible, with all schools expected to close by Friday, March 20, 2020 at the latest. Schools should remain closed through March 31, 2020 to further mitigate the spread of this infectious disease and we will issue further guidance prior to March 31. Superintendents and local leadership have the full support of my administration to determine effective dates for closure this week as they evaluate what is best for families within their respective districts. We understand the tremendous burden school closure places on families and we will continue to work with both the federal government and school districts to ensure we continue essential supports like meals for students in need. Every Tennessean has a role to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19 and I urge Tennesseans to be quick to help neighbors as new needs surface with the closure of schools.”

The TSSAA checked with the Governor’s office and confirmed his statement applies to all school-related activities including athletics.

TSSAA does not regulate the scheduling of regular season games or practices. However, consistent with the Governor’s statement, and in the interest of the health and safety of competitors, coaches, officials, and spectators, TSSAA is urging every member school – both public and independent – to follow the Governor’s recommendation and suspend interscholastic athletics through March 31, 2020. This suspension should include games, scrimmages, practices, and organized workouts or conditioning.

The TSSAA Board of Control met Tuesday, March 17. The meeting is normally held in person, but was conducted via teleconference due to the numerous precautions being taken regarding the COVID-19 virus.

The Board discussed the current status of the state basketball tournaments and voted to continue with the current suspension of the state basketball tournaments and explore possible options to conduct the tournament at a date in the near future.

The Board voted to maintain the current policy that the regular season for spring sports’ competition is still left up to school administrators, local boards of education, etc. If a school decides to not have any regular season games, they could not be prohibited from entering the postseason, if tournaments are held.

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