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TSSAA urges schools to follow Governor Lee recommendations, suspend athletics

Meanwhile, state basketball tournaments continue to be postponed, not canceled.

While the TSSAA cannot mandate a suspension of regular season sports or practices, the organization is asking schools across Tennessee, both public and private, to follow the recommendations of Governor Bill Lee and suspend athletic activities through March 31.

The TSSAA said on Tuesday a suspension should include games, scrimmages, practices and organized workouts or conditioning.

In a statement on Monday, Governor Lee addressed schools in the state:

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 has said it does not regulate the scheduling of regular season games or practices, but "in the interest of the health and safety of competitors, coaches, officials, and spectators, we urge every member school – both public and independent – to follow the Governor’s recommendation."

In addition, during a teleconference with the TSSAA Board of Control, it was voted to continue the suspension of the state basketball tournaments while exploring the possibility of conducting the tournaments in the near future.