York’s Brynn Hirschfeld, shown here at last year’s state track meet, was one of the York Dukes primed for a big track season in 2020. But she and the rest of Nebraska’s student-athletes won’t get to compete as extracurricular activities have been canceled statewide through May 31 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

LINCOLN – Gov. Pete Ricketts announced Wednesday night that extracurricular activities have been canceled statewide through May 31 because of the coronavirus pandemic, meaning there will not be a spring sports season in Nebraska high schools.

In the governor’s directive released at 8:45 p.m., Nebraska schools are to operate without students in their buildings through May 31.

Last week, the Nebraska School Activities Association announced that its activities were suspended through May 1, in part because many schools were announcing that their buildings would be closed until the end of April.

NSAA Executive Director Jay Bellar could not be reached late Wednesday night for comment.

The coronavirus first affected NSAA activities with the boys basketball state tournament. On March 11, hours after officials announced that a male Crofton High School student who had attended the girls state tournament games March 5 had tested positive for COVID-19, the NSAA accepted the recommendation of the Lincoln/Lancaster County Health Department to restrict attendance at boys tournament games to immediate family members.

Nebraska was one of the last four states to have high school competition. The boys tournament finished on schedule March 14.

On March 16, the NSAA suspended practices until March 30 and competition until April 2. That was superseded March 25 by the closures through May 1.

The NSAA’s spring postseason was to begin May 2 with soccer districts. State soccer has May 13 through 19 dates in Omaha, state baseball May 16 through 21 in Lincoln and Papillion, state girls tennis May 21 and 22 in Omaha and Lincoln, state track and field May 22 and 23 at Burke Stadium and state boys golf May 27 and 28 at four sites across the state.

When he made the March 25 announcement, Bellar said the NSAA was continuing to follow federal and state directives.

“If things happen on the positive side faster than we expect, we can make adjustments that way,” he said. “If the closings go past May 1, there’s not a lot we can do at that point in time.”

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