E.W. Scripps, a broadcaster with 60 television stations in 42 markets, has canceled its 2020 Spelling Bee national finals due to the coronavirus. A new date will be announced once public gatherings are allowed.
This decision follows a previous March 20 announcement that the Bee was suspending the finals with the hope of rescheduling.
More than 150 local sponsors declared champions before the coronavirus restrictions took place. The Bee will recognize those students in the coming months, Scripps said in a release. Spellers who have advanced beyond the eighth grade will not be eligible to participate.
"Our thoughts immediately go to our spellers and their families. The students have dedicated time and effort to their passion for learning. They should be proud of all they have accomplished by winning spelling bees at the classroom, school and regional level," said Paige Kimble, executive director of the Bee. "Nevertheless, our first priority has to be the health and well-being of our spellers and their families and the hundreds of staff and spectators that come together for Bee Week.
"Our hearts go out to the spellers who won't get their final shot at winning because of the pandemic and the difficult decisions it is prompting us to make," added Kimble. "They are now part of a widely expanding group of children and adults who are missing out on opportunities due to the coronavirus."
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