NEWBURYPORT — The Newburyport boys and girls hockey programs are currently on pause while the school investigates possible COVID-19 related issues, athletic director Kyle Hodsdon confirmed on Thursday.

Hodsdon said the shutdowns stemmed from a positive case within the boys program and contract tracing is currently underway to ensure no additional cases emerge.

"We had a positive case and close contact concerns, so we felt it was in the best interest to pause the program for the necessary time, which is eight days if everything comes back negative," Hodsdon said.

Newburyport boys hockey's season opener, originally scheduled for Wednesday night against Lynnfield, was not played. Hodsdon said that game, along with the next two games against North Reading (Saturday) and Triton (Wednesday) will be rescheduled.

The girls program was paused as well due to additional concerns, though Hodsdon said barring any issues the team will be back in full operation on Saturday. The team was originally scheduled to play its inaugural game on Saturday against Marblehead, but that game as well as Wednesday's game against Medford and next Friday's game against Beverly have been postponed partly due to COVID concerns but also due to uncertainty within those school districts of whether or not they'll have approval to play.

Newburyport's boys and girls basketball teams are not affected by the hockey shutdowns and will continue to play as scheduled. The Clippers are set to play Hamilton-Wenham on Friday night, with the boys at home at 5:45 p.m. and the girls on the road at 6 p.m.

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