ROCKFORD — After Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker officially suspended in-person learning for the rest of the academic year, little hope remained for saving the spring high school sports season.

The IHSA board decided Tuesday during a virtual meeting to cancel all spring state tournaments, though it left open a window of opportunity for some teams to get in some games if the coronavirus pandemic eases in time.

“There just was not any way to believe we could have the state tournaments, and do them in the right way. ... We collectively agreed,” IHSA Executive Director Craig Anderson said. “But there is still that potential for some local contests to be conducted.”

The IHSA may give teams a chance to play some regular season games, depending on how the pandemic plays out. But that would happen only if the state moves to relax some of the restrictions meant to halt the spread of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus.

The next scheduled IHSA board meeting is June 15, but Anderson said a meeting could be called (by the president or by two board members) at any time to discuss further steps.

COVID-19 update from today's #IHSA Board of Directors meeting:

Spring state tournaments canceled
Summer contact days suspended
Board open to potentially resuming summer contact days & spring sport games after it is deemed safe.

More infohttps://t.co/5rsXMHNiDr pic.twitter.com/er416Etkc6

— IHSA #IHSA (@IHSA_IL) April 21, 2020

Summer contact days, which affect mainly basketball and football camps and workouts, are on hiatus as well.

Anderson said he struggled with the decision of whether to delay or cancel the spring sports season, but emails from student-athletes and parents of athletes helped sway him.

“It’s very challenging, especially without a future timeline in place, and we see support on both sides,” Anderson said. “But it just feels right, for the students and the athletes and the families, to look for that opportunity to open the discussion back up.

“This way, maybe they can get closure on the field, or on the track, or doing it the way they want to do it.”

Until then, spring coaches and athletes remain in limbo.

And while the IHSA had said as recently as last week that it would not stretch any spring sport season into July, Anderson came out of this morning’s meeting feeling differently.

“We did feel that way before, and we knew that we couldn’t drag any of the state tournaments into July,” Anderson said. “But, now with the state tournaments out of the picture, and with what I heard from the board today, I could see things going into July.

“Of course, that would only come after the direction of the state, the health departments, the board of education. But we’ll be watching.”

Jay Taft: jtaft@rrstar.com; @JayTaft