The University of Maine is putting a halt to all athletic competition through at least Feb. 4 – the latest setback for the school’s winter sports teams during the coronavirus pandemic.

“At this time, there are positive COVID-19 cases in UMaine Athletics, and all health and safety protocols are in place, including contract tracing, quarantining and isolating,” the school said in a statement Monday. “To protect the privacy of student-athletics and employees, no details will be released.”

UMaine said its teams will continue to prepare for upcoming competitions and the school plans to review its next steps on Feb. 4. Testing for the programs continues for all Tier I personnel, which includes student-athletes, coaches and support staff.

Across the country, college athletic departments have paused activities this winter in reaction to positive COVID-19 tests. In college basketball alone, hundreds of men’s and women’s games have been postponed or canceled. Last week, the University of Vermont announced that it was pausing all athletic activities – including practices – until Feb. 4. Two days later, the Vermont women’s basketball program decided to pull the plug on the rest of its season.

This is not the first bump in the road this winter for UMaine athletics. On Nov. 24, the school halted its winter sports schedules for at least two weeks “due to positive (COVID-19) test results on campus, including among individuals involved with the varsity athletic programs,” the school announced.

On Jan. 19, the men’s basketball team paused team activities due to two presumptive positive COVID-19 tests among the team’s Tier-I personnel. Members of the team deemed to be close contacts were placed in quarantine and contact tracing and additional testing were also performed. Last weekend’s home series with Binghamton was postponed.

On Jan. 8, the UMaine women’s ice hockey program, because of a presumptive positive COVID-19 test, had its two-game weekend series at Holy Cross canceled and all members of the team were placed in quarantine and further testing was performed.

Players in the men’s hockey program went into in quarantine on Dec. 17 after a member of the program tested positive for COVID-19, pausing all team activities and canceling a weekend series at UMass-Lowell.

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