All school fall sports in Worcester were postponed just days before practice was set to begin after the city's being designated as high risk of spreading the coronavirus by Massachusetts health officials Wednesday.
Any city in the COVID-19 red zone on the state's map -- high-risk cities are marked red -- must postpone the fall season to Feb. 22-April 25, the fall-back option, according to guidance from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Mass Interscholastic Athletic Association.
Officials in Worcester said Thursday that COVID cases have been rising for three consecutive weeks.
Friday would have been the first day for student athletes to practice, leaving them likely feeling disappointed, Worcester Public Schools Superintendent Maureen Binienda said.
“If they do cross county, they’ve been practicing running on their own. We've been doing field hockey, cross country, soccer -- students have been looking forward to that. But we want to do what's safe for everybody,” she said.
Football in the Massachusetts has already been postponed to February.
Worcester is one of 17 Massachusetts communities now in the red zone. Framingham is as well, and high school athletic director Paul Spear said the designation was tough.
“At the end of the day there was nothing we could do to change the DESE mandate that, if you are fully remote you are a red community, that your fall sports season is suspended to fall two,” he said.