Like the CIAC, the NEPSAC is taking a wait-and-see approach regarding the future of its high school spring sports season.
Connecticut governor Ned Lamont announced recently that Connecticut schools won’t reopen until April 20 at the earliest, due to the COVID-19 outbreak. He then stated Tuesday that schools may not be in session again until the fall, so the spring high school sports season in the state is still up in the air.
Schools that are part of the New England Preparatory School Athletic Council often follow the guidelines of the public schools within their districts in terms of school closings and cancellations.
The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Association announced the postponement of its spring season indefinitely last week. The organization expressed the desire for athletes and teams to have some type of spring season, if and when, schools are back in session.
NEPSAC officials feel the same way, though fitting a spring sports season into its schedule could be more challenging for the regional conference. The spring season for public schools in the state usually conclude in early June and could be pushed back to mid or late June, if the school year in the state starts up again. Most private schools in the NEPSAC conclude their scholastic year in May, making the window smaller to hold any type of sports season.
For instance, NEPSAC schools Greenwich Academy and Brunswick School will hold their respective graduation ceremonies for seniors on May 21 and May 20, respectively. Cheshire Academy, Greens Farms Academy, Hamden Hall, Hotchkiss, Kent, King, St. Luke’s and Wooster all have May graduations as well.
“Right now, we are surveying what schools that compete in the NEPSAC are doing,” said Greenwich Academy athletic director Martha Brousseau, who also serves as the vice president of the NEPSAC and president of the FAA. “It is going to be a matter of which schools can participate in spring sports, once and if, school is back in session.”
Brousseau noted that schools such as Taft School, Hotchkiss School, Loomis Chaffee and Choate Rosemary Hall have closed their campuses for the remainder of the spring and are following an online learning model going forward. The NEPSAC includes more than 180 schools, spanning several New England states.
“I received an email that those schools made the decision to have online learning the rest of the school year, so their athletic season is done for the year,” Brousseau said. “We have scheduled calls and will have conversations soon about what the future holds and what schools can have a season.”
Greenwich Academy has canceled all of its athletic events through April 27, while Brunswick School, Sacred Heart Greenwich and most schools that play in the NEPSAC have crossed games off their schedule up until, or around, that date.
Should students return to school in late April, or early May, there is a few week window for the NEPSAC to hold its games, or have some type of season. NEPSAC tournaments are not held in baseball, softball, boys and girls lacrosse and boys golf, so the organization doesn’t have to worry about fitting in postseasons for those sports. Girls and boys tennis, girls water polo, girls golf and boys and girls track and field have NEPSAC postseason events.
“Based on what the schools are doing, we’ll see if we can preserve as much of the season as we can for everyone if we do come back this spring,” Brousseau said. “It’s going to be tough. We may have to be as creative as we can be.”