WINDSOR, ONT. -- There won’t be varsity sports at St. Clair College or University of Windsor this fall.

The college announced today that the varsity schedule for the 2020 fall season has been suspended, following an announcement Monday by the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association, in consultation with its member institutions.

The sports impacted by this decision include baseball, softball, soccer, golf and cross-country running.

“The health and safety of everyone involved in St. Clair’s athletics is paramount,” said Ron Seguin, vice president of International Relations, Campus Development and Student Services.

St. Clair will continue to roster teams and honour its scholarship obligations, Seguin said.

“It’s the right thing to do,” says Seguin. “We will put you on a roster and monitor your academic performance to make sure you are meeting the established college criteria.”

The OCAA made the decision in order to further reduce the potential exposure to COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of everyone involved in varsity sports, particularly student athletes, coaches, athletic staff and fans.

St. Clair College officials say they are working collaboratively with member schools on a plan to offer a spring 2021 season for suspended fall 2020 sports.

The suspension of the fall varsity schedule follows the decision of several colleges to offer both online and in-person classes in the fall, minimizing the number of students and staff on campus.

St. Clair College has not finalized its fall academic schedule, but it has been considering a hybrid model of delivery for its programs.

Each of the 24 public colleges in Ontario are considering limiting access to their campuses for necessary hands-on learning, under strict best practices. Staff and student presence on-campus will be kept to a necessary minimum and theory will continue to be provided through faculty-led remote learning.

The OCAA will review the situation on an ongoing basis with a goal of resuming varsity athletics for the 2021 winter semester, starting in January. The winter semester includes basketball, volleyball and indoor soccer.

Ontario University Athletics (OUA) has also announced the cancellation of all OUA-sanctioned sport programming and championships.

“Unprecedented times require unprecedented action, which is what led us to this difficult decision,” Dr. Mike DeGagné, Chair of the OUA Board of Directors said in a news release. “The health of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators, officials, and fans is our number one priority, and after significant consultation, we believe that OUA sport cannot be delivered prior to Dec.31.”

OUA said the decision was “not made lightly.” It was based on provincial public health guidelines, health and well-being of participants after ongoing conversations with health authorities and contingency planning with the Board of Directors, member institutions and colleagues across the country.

There have been no decisions made beyond the first term timeframe, OUA said, given the ever-changing nature of COVID-19 and its impact. Any decisions beyond Jan. 1 will be announced at a later date.

“We are committed to delivering OUA sport once our provincial public health authorities indicate it is safe to do so,” DeGagné said.