Schools to remain closed through school year, sports canceled

ESSEX COUNTY, NJ — Gov. Phil Murphy announced May 4 that New Jersey school buildings will remain closed through the rest of the school year. This announcement has also served as the final death knell for the spring 2020 sports season, which the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association had been hoping to resurrect at least in part once school buildings were reopened.

“Following today’s announcement by Gov. Murphy, the NJSIAA has officially canceled New Jersey’s 2020 high school spring sports season,” the NJSIAA wrote in a May 4 statement. “This decision was not made lightly and we are disappointed for the thousands of New Jersey student-athletes who will be unable to compete this spring. While we remained hopeful to the end, and left open every possibility, competition simply is not feasible given the circumstances.

“The last few weeks have been heartbreaking on many levels, from the tragic loss of life, to thousands battling the virus, to millions who have suffered emotional and economic loss. It’s been a harrowing time for everyone, and we know our student-athletes are extremely disappointed. That said, these unfortunate circumstances may have put an intriguing challenge in the path of our young people. As New Jersey’s own Vince Lombardi once said, ‘It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.’ We’re confident all our kids will get back up and stand tall,” the statement continued.

“The NJSIAA will continue developing plans for the potential restarting of scholastic sports during the fall season. Additional information related both to the summer recess and fall will be shared at a later date.”