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story.lead_photo.caption The Crusader Athletic Complex at Helias High School is without action Saturday afternoon. Photo by Jason Strickland / News Tribune.
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It wasn't a surprise. That didn't make it any easier to hear.

"It's devastating our spring sports were canceled," Helias activities director Tom Guinn said after the Missouri State High School Activities Association announced Thursday it was calling off the spring sports season for high schools. "I was really disappointed for our coaches and our athletes."

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced Thursday the state's schools would be closed for the remainder of the academic year. And with no school, that meant no sports.

"(Helias principal) Kenya Fuemmeler has been in communication with a lot of people, had a lot of meetings and she relayed information to us," Guinn said. "She kind of had this feeling we weren't going back to school. And if we weren't going back to school, we weren't going to have sports. No practice, no planned workouts, nothing."

MSHSAA notified school officials and coaches by email Thursday about its decision, which was released to the public a couple of hours later.

"Everybody got the same email, we didn't have to tell anybody so I didn't get to see or hear any reactions from our coaches," Guinn said. "We've been working, but with it being Easter break, we had really shut everything down for these few days."

Along with the school itself, the athletic facilities at Helias were closed last month and will remain so for the foreseeable future.

"I think that was hard for people because we have feeder programs, we have people that have become accustomed to coming to use our facilities," Guinn said. "It's made us realize how much our facilities are utilized and that people don't always know what to do with themselves when they don't have sports."

Guinn is one of those people.

"It's been my whole life," he said. "It's been hard to turn it off, it's hard for our coaches to turn it off, it's hard for our kids to turn it off. We're all having to deal with it."

Helias is hoping the situation won't linger into the summer. The school's summer athletic camps went on the schedule early this year.

"People have been able to register for them since February and we're still accepting those and planning to have those camps," Guinn said. "But who knows if we will have to cancel them? Some of the start as early as the first week of June and we will have to make decisions as we receive more information."

Looking toward the fall, Guinn is continuing to fill in a few gaps to the schedule in those sports as well as working on finishing the schedules for basketball and wrestling.

"The work has been pretty consistent on getting ready for the fall and working on the winter sports," Guinn said.

The 2020-21 school year will be the start of the Central Missouri Activities Conference.

"There was already an excitement about the fall season because of that before we had to leave school," Guinn said.

Helias will be joining Jefferson City, Capital City, Rock Bridge, Hickman, Battle and Sedalia Smith-Cotton as member schools.

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