RYAN MCBRIDE/Staff photo

Amesbury’s Avery Hallinan goes for a lay up against Ipswich last winter. Amesbury's basketball programs will have to pause for two weeks after the Amesbury School Committee voted to stop in-person after school activities through Jan. 14.

AMESBURY — The Amesbury School Committee voted Wednesday night to pause winter sports and in-person after school activities for two weeks, citing the need to ensure no coronavirus transmission has occurred over the holidays so schools can safely re-open after the break.

The decision came at the recommendation of acting health director and fire chief Ken Berkenbush, and Amesbury High School athletic director Glen Gearin said that barring any unexpected developments sports will restart on Thursday, Jan. 14. 

"We hope to resume at that point and continue on," Gearin said. "These things happened to other schools back in the fall and adjustments were made and we hope that's going to happen for us in the winter."

The decision will primarily affect the Amesbury boys and girls basketball programs, which were scheduled to begin their seasons this coming Tuesday against Rockport. The Amesbury basketball teams have three games each scheduled during the pause, and Gearin said those games will be postponed and played at a later date.

"We'll do some rescheduling just like we would with a snowstorm and hopefully it won't get any worse than it is now," he said. 

It's not clear whether the pause will affect the two Amesbury High athletes who play for the Newburyport girls hockey co-op, though it will not prevent the rest of the team from competing either way. The Amesbury boys hockey co-op has already cancelled its season after Whittier Tech opted out of winter sports, leaving Amesbury with too few athletes to safely compete, and the indoor track teams are scheduled to compete in the floating 'Fall 2' season in early spring.

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