This year's Luther Invitational Tournament (LIT), the long-running annual basketball tournament that was slated to begin the first week of February at Luther College in Regina, is now cancelled due to COVID-19.
"This is especially a big loss for our Grade 12s, our LIT advisors and tournament director, and our senior basketball teams," wrote Mark Anderson, the school's head and principal, in a news release Thursday.
"LIT is near and dear to all our hearts, and the entire Luther community, but these people are especially invested, having spent the last few months already preparing for LIT 2022."
Anderson noted the decision comes after seeking guidance from Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab.
"While large-scale athletic and cultural school events aren't currently prohibited by the government, [Shahab] still strongly advises that we not hold any over the next two months," he said. "Therefore, LIT's cancellation is a victim of this very unfortunate timing."
Anderson added that the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant played the biggest role in the decision, noting the possibility of many people having to isolate could impact student and teaching absences, and in-person learning.
Tournament organizers considered several alternative plans, along with the associated implications and logistics, before making the final call, he added.
Anderson said there's "a very remote chance" LIT could be postponed to late March or early April, which would require the school to apply for an exemption from the Saskatchewan High Schools Athletic Association.
On Wednesday, organizers of the Bedford Road Invitational Tournament in Saskatoon announced a similar cancellation of their event due to COVID-19.