The Independent School League, which includes Brooks in North Andover, will not hold a full slate of interscholastic sports this fall due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to a memo from the heads of all 16 of the league's member schools.
"While we remain committed to providing our students with meaningful athletic experiences, we will not offer the traditional full slate of league games this fall, nor will we confer league championships or awards," the email says. "It is our hope that conditions will prove safe enough to allow for some interscholastic athletic competition during the fall season at the discretion of individual schools."
"We know that this is a tremendous disappointment for students, parents, and coaches," said Governor's Academy Head of School Peter Quimby in his own email to the Governor's Academy community. "We will re-evaluate safety conditions weekly to see if Governor’s can resume some interscholastic competition during the fall season. The ISL heads of school have approved out of season coaching and we will be allowed to provide skill instruction for any sports we offer regardless of the season."
While there will be no ISL champions crowned this fall, the decision does leave open the possibility that schools may be able to compete independently. Whether or not that happens will depend in large part on the trajectory of the coronavirus in the coming months, and also on the forthcoming state guidance on interscholastic sports expected in early August from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. Those guidelines will play a key role in any return to play this fall.
Like the rest of the nation, the ISL shut down athletic competition in March when the coronavirus pandemic first took off. Since then, the heads of school said they have been engaging in regular discussions on how to navigate the pandemic heading into the new school year.
The heads of school made a point to mention they have also been discussing how to address racial injustice within their communities, including within the schools' athletic programs.
In addition to Governor's Academy and the Brooks School, the ISL also includes Belmont Hill, Buckingham Browne & Nichols, Groton School, Lawrence Academy, Middlesex School, Milton Academy, Noble and Greenough, Rivers, Roxbury Latin, St. George's, St. Mark's, St. Sebastian's, Tabor Academy and Thayer Academy.