MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) on Thursday announced that all spring athletics and activities are officially canceled for the 2019-2020 school year.

The decision comes just hours after Gov. Tim Walz issued an executive order to keep Minnesota schools closed through the rest of the academic year amid the COVID-19 crisis.

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“I can understand how heartbreaking the cancellation of the spring sports and activities season is for our students,” said board member Troy Stein, the activities director at Edina High School. “Sports and activities are about so much more than the competitions and performances. They provide students with a sense of accomplishment, purpose and belonging. They also provide the community an opportunity to gather and rally around their school. Without that, I think it is fair to say we all feel a sense of loss.”

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The cancellation applies to all forms of student participation in any league activity, athletics and fine arts. According to MSHSL, the section and state tournaments for each of the league’s spring activities are also canceled.

League officials encourage all students, coaches, advisors and officials to adhere to the current stay-at-home order.

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“Our work will continue in providing leadership and guidance for our member schools and will soon turn to the summer and planning for a return to participation this fall,” said League Executive Director Erich Martens. “At this time, everything we can do to slow the spread and impacts of COVID-19 will help ensure the health of all, and will most certainly increase the chances that programming for students can return.”