North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper announced Monday a new executive order including the closure of the state’s public schools for in-person instruction through May 15, casting further uncertainty on when high school sports could be allowed to resume.

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association already barred high school sports in the state through April 6, but the suspension has now extended further to May 18 after the governor’s announcement.

“Having heard the updated information relative to schools remaining closed until the middle of May, NCHSAA interscholastic athletics will remain suspended until at least May 18,” NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker said in a statement on Monday. “The NCHSAA Board of Directors and staff will use the next few weeks to weigh future decisions based on the new directions given by Governor Cooper, other government leaders and organizations charged with public health and safety during this unprecedented time. Such decisions will include the possible resumption of spring sports’ competition and the possibility of holding the state basketball championships.

“While we remain hopeful that we will be able to resume competition, particularly for our senior student-athletes, we also recognize the need to protect the health and safety of our students, coaches and the communities we serve.”

The 2020 spring sports season was less than two weeks old before the first suspension of games was announced on March 12. The 2019-20 winter sports season had not concluded either as the NCHSAA basketball championships, which were scheduled to take place on March 14, were also suspended. Those games were scheduled to take place at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and N.C. State University.

“I know that these actions cause hardship and heartache for a lot of people, but are necessary to save lives,” Cooper said in a news conference.

Wilkes County Parks and Recreation Commissioner Kevin Anderson said on Wednesday that youth baseball and softball programs are following the Tar Heel League guidelines in terms of when their seasons will be allowed to begin.

Tar Heel League has suspended all sanctioned league activities including games, practices, team meetings or gatherings, etc. until at least May 18.

Draw down fundraiser postponed

The Wilkes Central Draw Down, which benefits the Eagles athletic department, has been postponed due to the threat of the coronavirus (also known as COVID-19).

The fundraiser was originally scheduled to take place this past Saturday. It has now been postponed to a later, undetermined date.

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