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COVID-19: Vt. girls basketball semifinals postponed; Newport, N.H., schools released early

  • Thetford's Grace Davis (13) and Windsor's Brooke McKeen (3) and Anika Abrahamsen vie for a rebound under the Windsor net in the fourth quarter of their Division III state championship in Barre, Vt., on March 18, 2017. Thetford won, 53-52. (Valley News - Geoff Hansen) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to Geoff Hansen

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 3/12/2020 11:43:36 AM
Modified: 3/12/2020 4:15:07 PM

The Vermont Principals Association has postponed Thursday night’s Division III girls basketball semifinals at Barre Auditorium due to concerns surrounding COVID-19. 

The VPA had earlier planned to play the games Thursday night, but keep them closed to the general public. By 1 p.m., the games had been called off altogether. 

Affected games include No. 5 Oxbow (17-5) taking on No. 1 Lake Region (19-2) at 6:30, and No. 2 Windsor (19-3) facing rival No. 3 Thetford (19-3) at 8:15. 

The VPA expects to make a decision regarding when — and if — to play the semifinals, as well as championship games that are scheduled this Saturday and Sunday in Division I through IV girls basketball. 

Earlier today, Bob Johnson, the VPA’s associate executive director, said the decision to play the games closed to the public had been made in consultation with UVM last night, when the VPA was hosting its hockey finals there.

“UVM approached me and said, ‘This is what the NCAA and America East have done,’ ” Johnson said. “They’re having to play their game without having any fans on Saturday,” during the America East men’s and women’s basketball championship games.

“By doing that, that meant what we had to do that with our games at UVM,” Johnson said. “And if we’re going to do it there, we’re going to do it at Barre Auditorium.”

Players, staff, media and immediate family members would have been eligible to attend. Refunds (from schools) will be issued for any tickets that were sold and cannot be used. 

Johnson said that the VPA will make a decision about playing spring sports next week. 

The New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association has postponed Thursday’s events, as well.

Newport, N.H., schools released early

Also on Thursday, Newport students were released early as a staff member “who has minimal contact with students” was assessed for COVID-19, according to a Thursday morning Facebook post from the district.

The early release for Newport Middle High School and Richards Elementary School was aimed at giving administrators a chance “to monitor the situation and deep clean the buildings.”

The afternoon preschool at the Richards school and all afternoon activities were canceled. 

SAU 43 Superintendent Brendan Minnihan said later that the employee may have the flu, rather than the coronavirus, but that school officials are seeking more clarity on the situation.

Tuck classes to go online to start spring term

In the wake of several colleges and universities in the Twin States and beyond announcing they would move to online-only courses, Dartmouth College said late Wednesday that Tuck School of Business classes will go online at least for the first couple of weeks of spring term. 

The move means that approximately 40 MBA classes will go online for the first two weeks of the term, which begins March 23.

“The decision of whether to extend online instruction at Tuck will be made on an ongoing basis,” Dartmouth provost Joseph Helble said in a community-wide email.

By Monday, “if not sooner,” the college will make a decision about what to do for the undergraduate spring term, which is scheduled to begin March 30, Helble said.

Pete Nakos can be reached at Valley News staff writer Nora Doyle-Burr contributed to this report.

Read more: COVID-19 news in the Upper Valley (no paywall)

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