HADLEY, Mass. -- The New England Small College Athletic Conference presidents Thursday afternoon announced that they are canceling winter sports for the 2020-21 academic year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"With the fall semester for NESCAC institutions well underway, the health and safety of students, faculty, staff and the broader community remain our foremost concerns," reads an email signed by all of the league's presidents on the NESCAC website. "Our institutions have limited travel off campus, restricted visitors to campus, and implemented strict protocols on physical distancing. To further mitigate the risk of exposure to COVID-19 and protect the well-being of those on campus and in the surrounding communities, each of our institutions is conducting a robust COVID-19 testing program.
"In addition to these measures, many of our institutions have made or are considering significant modifications to the 2020-21 academic calendar. As a result, many of our students will not return to campus for the spring semester until late January or early February.
"Given these institutional policies and calendar changes, the NESCAC Presidents have unanimously decided to cancel NESCAC conference competition, including conference championships, for the winter season."
In a Thursday afternoon email to the Williams College community, President Maud Mandel wrote that she expects the college's winter sports teams will be able to conduct practices, as its fall teams have done this season.
"It is also too early at present to make a decision about spring sports," Mandel wrote. "We will continue to track the public health situation with the conference and our peer schools."
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