North Carolina Gov. 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 doubt on the resumption of high school sports in the state this academic year.

High school sports were already barred in the state by the N.C. High School Athletic Association through April 6, but the suspension was extended further after the governor’s announcement.

In response to Cooper’s executive order closing all North Carolina public schools through May 15, NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker released the following statement:

“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.

“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.”

Spring sports were only a couple weeks into the season. The 2019-2020 winter sports season had not been completed either. The NCHSAA basketball state championship games are in limbo as well. Those were scheduled to be played in Chapel Hill and Raleigh on March 14, the day after the NCHSAA suspended all athletics.

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

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