The Nashua School District has shut down sports for two weeks because of rising cases of COVID-19 among athletes.
“The numbers were really starting to get a little out of control,” said Athletic Director Lisa Gingras.
Several athletes were exposed to infected individuals before the start of the winter sports season on Dec. 14, Gingras said. After that, positive cases started popping up among athletes.
“Some of our teams started on Dec. 14 and, I will be very honest with you, some of them were shut down on Dec. 15,” she told the school board on Monday.
A planned break from sports during the extended holiday vacation likely helped stop some of the spread of COVID-19 and reduced the need for more quarantines, Gingras said.
Although practices resumed on Jan. 4 as planned, Gingras said she consulted with the public health department and school administrators on Jan. 5, when case numbers began to climb.
The shutdown of practices began on Jan. 6 and will run through Monday.
“We erred on the side of caution and safety for our students and their families,” Gingras said.
A delayed start, the holiday break and now a two-week shutdown mean most winter sports teams have lost five to six weeks of their regular seasons, Gingras said.
Although practices are to resume Tuesday, Jan. 19, games, competitions and meets will not begin until Jan. 25. That will give athletes a week of practice before competitions, she said.
With so many quarantines and postponements, Gingras said that if a team has fewer than eight days of practice left in its regular season after returning from quarantine, the team’s season will end early. The concern is the potential for injuries before the playoffs.
“I am sad for our student-athletes. It is a tough reality of living through a pandemic,” said Heather Raymond, president of the Board of Education. “Fingers crossed that the spring will be better for athletics.”
Gingras said she is seeking permission to refund winter sports activity refunds because the season was so short.
“We had a 38% drop in our high school registrations and almost a 50% drop in middle school registrations,” she said of winter sports. “So, people in our community are taking this very seriously, and many of them chose not to participate.”
Nashua High School South and Nashua High School North canceled gymnastics for the season because of low enrollment, and the indoor track season was canceled because no indoor track facilities were willing to host meets.
Unified basketball is taking place virtually at Nashua High School North, and a decision on unified basketball at Nashua High School South is pending.