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BREAKING: Summer baseball, softball approved to start June 1

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has signed off on high school baseball and softball to begin their summer sports seasons, starting June 1.

Despite, Reynolds' approval, both the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union and the Iowa High School Athletic Association will have the final sign off on both sports starting up for the 2020 season.

Originally scheduled to start April 24, the season has been in limbo due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Editors note: Updated 3:31 p.m. on Tuesday to reflect new information.

The IGHSAU board of directors and IHSAA board of control met after the announcement and both groups voted to approve resuming the 2020 summer seasons under Iowa Department of Education guidelines. The announcement came in a joint memo at 3:30 Tuesday afternoon.

"Member schools are to follow reopening guidance entitled 'summer sport' and 'use of school facilities' as supplied by the Iowa Department of Education, with recommendations based on conversations with the IGHSAU, IHSAA, Iowa Department of Public Health, and the governor’s office. Dr. Ann Lebo, executive director of the Iowa Department of Education and member of the IHSAA Board of Control, is expected to join Gov. Reynolds at the daily briefing on Thursday," said the release from both the governing bodies.

The statement also expressed thanks to governement and medical officials who helped make the season possible.

“The IHSAA thanks Dr. Lebo, Governor Reynolds, Dr. Pedati, the IDPH and all who have worked diligently to develop these guidelines to help us conduct a baseball season for the young people in Iowa,” IHSAA executive director Tom Keating said

“We trust that our administrators, coaches, umpires and fans will responsibly follow the guidelines in place to keep themselves and each other safe. This is terrific news and is a step toward getting our student-athletes reconnected to the activities that mean so much to them.”

Spring sports seasons never began and were ultimately cancelled April 17 following the cancellation of in-person K-12 schooling for Iowa’s 2019-20 academic year. The original first practice dates were May 4 for softball and May 18 for baseball.

The first allowed competition date for both sports is June 15 with a first date for practice set for June 1.

“The guidelines laid out by the Department of Education and the Department of Public Health will enable us to safely move forward with a softball season this summer,” IGHSAU executive director Jean Berger said. “We are grateful for their leadership and support.

“We know the games will have different circumstances and that we will all have to work together to keep everyone safe, but we are confident that we are up to this challenge.”

The IGHSAU and IHSAA plan to issue further sport-specific guidance and FAQ lists early next week. Both organizations currently plan to conduct their state tournaments at their previously announced venues with IGHSAU softball at Harlan Rogers Sports Complex in Fort Dodge and IHSAA baseball at Principal Park in Des Moines.

Per guidance from the Iowa Department of Education, coach-athlete contact for all in-person, out-of-season sports is suspended until July 1.

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