The Montana High School Association executive board voted to delay the start of winter sports on Tuesday in an effort to flatten the curve amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to MontanaSports.com, the MHSA executive board approved a motion allowing winter sports practices in basketball, swimming and wrestling to begin on Dec. 7 with competitions being delayed until the first week of January. Basketball practices were originally scheduled to begin on Nov. 19, while wrestling and swimming were slated to begin two days later. However, Montana’s upward trend in positive coronavirus cases forced the MHSA’s hand, as limiting travel and exposure could help avoid a further uptick in positive cases.

According to MHSA executive director Mark Beckman, delaying winter sports will not impact the beginning of spring sports. The MHSA will re-evaluate its guidelines and restrictions during its annual November meeting and as needed throughout the winter sports season.

The MHSA executive board also adjusted its spectator policy for postseason action in football, soccer and volleyball. A maximum of six spectator passes per uniformed player, four for each alternate and manager, two for coaches and two for each cheerleader up to 12 total cheerleaders are now allowed. However, designated bands and student sections will not be allowed at postseason events, although students are eligible to receive spectator passes.

Local county health departments must approve the revised policy before it is enacted