National Spelling Bee canceled for first time since 1945

National & World News

10-year-old Odessa Christian student Joseph Davis advances onto the 10th round as one of the 5 final contestants in the 41st annual spelling bee at Odessa High School in Odessa, Texas, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020. (Ben Powell/Odessa American via AP)

This year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee has been canceled after organizers concluded there was “no clear path to safely set a new date in 2020” because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision means kids who are in eighth grade this year will miss their final opportunity to compete in the national finals. Scripps will not change eligibility requirements for next year’s bee, which is scheduled for June 1-3, 2021.

The bee has always been open to kids through the eighth grade. The bee had only previously been canceled between 1943-45 because of World War II. The first Scripps bee was held in 1925.

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