The Scripps National Spelling Bee won't be held as scheduled this year because of the coronavirus.
Scripps announced the decision Friday morning, citing recommendations against large gatherings by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the ongoing state of emergency in Maryland.
The bee was scheduled to start on May 24 at its longtime venue, a convention center in Oxon Hill, Maryland, just outside Washington.
Scripps said it would try to reschedule the bee for later this year, but it did not commit to a new date. It's possible the bee won't be held at all.
Rescheduling would potentially require adjustments to eligibility rules and qualifying. Some local and regional bees have been postponed because of the virus, preventing spellers from qualifying for nationals. And the bee has historically been open to students only through the eighth grade. A bee held this fall would presumably include ninth-graders.