Dear Coaches, Coordinators, and Mock Trial Friends,
As we all can see from the news and in the stream of communications from us and others over the course of the past few days, the COVID-19 situation is evolving rapidly, seemingly hour by hour. As a result of the continuing spread of this virus, we are forced to announce the postponement of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Young Lawyers Division State High School Mock Trial championships scheduled for Harrisburg at the end of this month.
We want to stress that at this time, we view this as a postponement, not a cancellation. With the National High School Mock Trial Competition Board’s action yesterday canceling nationals and affording state coordinators greater scheduling flexibility, we are working hard to try and find options that will allow us to have a competition in late April or early May. However, at this point it is premature to opine on what that competition will be, or whether it will even be possible. While we are working to make decisions under the best information we can possibly acquire, no one can say at this point how this virus will develop.
Please understand that we do not take this action lightly. In addition to the obvious health and safety issue posed by COVID-19, we also have to consider issues of competitive integrity. It would not be fair to hold a state competition at a time when competing schools are experiencing different challenges or competition policies, or when our competing students cannot meet with one another to prepare fully for our competition. We will be keeping an eye on these issues as well over the next few weeks, hoping as always that everyone in our competition will have a full opportunity to prepare. Although at this time it appears increasingly likely that an in-person competition may be impractical, we are actively investigating the logistics of holding a competition electronically.
We appreciate all of the thoughts, comments, and best wishes that we have received this week. To our students, we say: we know how much this means to you, and we are doing our very best to honor your sacrifice and talent. We look forward to open, frank communication with you over the course of the next month as we determine how best to complete the Pennsylvania championships. We will do everything we can to make this competition work, consistent with our best traditions and with our obligations to one another and to the community as a whole.
Coaches or Coordinators with questions may reach out to our State Co-Chairs, Jennifer Menichini firstname.lastname@example.org and Jonathan Koltash email@example.com. Rest assured that the entire Mock Trial Executive Committee is in near-constant communication about these issues and that any delays in response to you in the past or in the future are to ensure consistent communication and coordination among us and with our PBA and courthouse sponsors.