VALLEY CITY, N.D. – The North Dakota High School Activities Association is committed to the health and safety of our student participants, member schools and communities across the state, during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Today the NDHSAA Board of Directors unanimously voted to cancel the remaining 2020 NDHSAA winter postseason basketball tournaments, spring sports seasons and championships, and spring fine arts region and state contests. This decision was made in accordance with Governor’s Burgum’s Executive Order that will close schools to in-person education for the remainder of the 2019-20 school year, as well as current Center for Disease Control (CDC) social distancing guidelines that will make the resumption of all sports and activities impossible during the current academic year.
“As disappointed as we are for our students, coaches/advisors, parents, and supporters of our high school activities, the health and safety of students and communities is the deciding factor in this decision,” NDHSAA Board of Directors President Scott Privratsky said. “This difficult conclusion did not come easy as we understand the huge sacrifices students have made.”
“As a school administrator, my heart breaks for our students that focus their passions into our activities,” said NDHSAA Board of Directors member Jeremy Brandt, who also is an assistant boys basketball coach at Hillsboro/Central Valley – a team that had qualified for the Class B State Tournament in March. “As a coach, knowing how we battled all year and being just days away from playing in the tournament only for it to be suspended and later cancelled because of something that was completely out of our hands – that’s a feeling I wouldn’t wish upon anyone.”
Based on guidance from the North Dakota Department of Health and in conjunction with Federal and State Emergency Declarations, the NDHSAA suspended all remaining 2020 NDHSAA winter postseason tournaments and spring fine arts contests on March 13. In the time between March 13 and today much has been learned about COVID-19; however, questions regarding safe implementation of activities remain. Logistically, these events became impossible to host based on uncertainty of facility availability, in-person practice requirements, and school year calendar.
“Today’s decision was an incredibly difficult one for the Board of Directors to make,” NDHSAA Executive Director Matt Fetsch said. “Educationally-based athletics and activities offer many benefits to the students of North Dakota and the schools and communities they represent. The NDHSAA will continue to provide guidance for our member schools and will be working with the National Federation of State High School Associations, along with state health and education officials, to develop reopening guidelines for the potential resumption of fall activities.”