Special Olympics Maine has suspended all competitive and training sports activities through March 31 in response to coronavirus concerns.

As a result, the Maine Principals’ Association has recommended that schools suspend all Unified sports activities through the end of March.

Wednesday was slated to be the final day of regular-season competition at Maine high schools for Unified basketball, with season-ending team festivals slated for Friday through March 21.

The Unified track and field season is scheduled to begin with practices on March 26.

Phil Geelhoed, the president and CEO of Special Olympics Maine, said in a release Tuesday that the state organization was following the lead of the Special Olympics national office.

“Needless to say this decision does not come as an easy one,” he said. “These actions are necessary to ensure that we are doing everything we can to prevent transmission of the virus.”

Geelhoed noted in the release that Special Olympic athletes “are at a heightened risk due to age and/or compromised immune systems.”

Tim Spear, the athletic director at Gorham High, said his Unified basketball team was supposed to play in a festival in Fryeburg on Thursday.

“It’s a bummer for the kids, especially the kids in this group because they’re super excited any time they get a chance to play,” Spear said Wednesday. “And the festival is an end-of-the-season fun event. The kids get medals at the end and have a pizza party. It’s a fun atmosphere.

“But certainly there’s a bigger picture here. And student safety is No. 1.”


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