In a Dec. 2018 file photo, ConVal senior Max Richard launches a shot with Murdock (Winchendon, Mass.) junior Luis Maldonado, 1, defending.

PETERBOROUGH — Superintendent Kimberly Rizzo Saunders announced that the ConVal School District will transition to the orange phase of its reopening plan due to an elevated COVID-19 risk level, resulting in a pause of athletic programs.

According to a news release, all district athletic programs will be suspended indefinitely to keep in accordance with the district’s reopening plan. An orange-level COVID-19 risk represents substantial transmission of the novel coronavirus, according to Rizzo Saunders.

There will be no changes to academic programming, as the district has already moved to remote learning. Students are scheduled to return to in-person classes on Jan. 19. The district continues to plan on that return and the COVID-19 monitoring team will continue to watch public health metrics daily.

The ConVal school board on Thursday adopted the recommendation of the district’s COVID-19 monitoring team, which tracks public health data in real time in order to allow the district to quickly adapt to the constantly evolving circumstances of the pandemic, according to the press release.

“I understand the disappointment our student athletes, coaches, and school communities will feel as a result of this change, but it is a step we must take given the increased risk of community transmission of COVID-19 in our area,” Rizzo Saunders said in a prepared statement. “Our reopening plan was designed with the likelihood of a surge in cases in the late fall and early winter in mind, so while sports programs will be temporarily interrupted, I’m grateful that we planned for a remote segment so there will not be an additional disruption to our students’ learning.”

The move to the orange phase is the result of growth in the region’s COVID-19 test positivity rate as well as the increasing number of cases within ConVal’s nine communities, the increase of cases within New Hampshire and increasing pressure on the health care system.

Chris Detwiler can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1411, or cdetwiler@keenesentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @Chris_Detwiler.