Scripps National Spelling Bee canceled for first time since 1945

The Scripps National Spelling Bee has been canceled for the first time since 1945 due to the coronavirus pandemic, organizers announced on Tuesday. 

The event is typically held in June. Organizers determined there was "no clear path to safely set a new date in 2020" with a postponement. In March, a postponement was announced without a date commitment. 

Scripps will not change eligibility requirements for next year’s spelling bee, meaning kids who are in the eighth grade this year will miss the opportunity to compete in the national finals. The spelling bee is open to kids through the 8th grade.  

Paige Kimble, the spelling bee's executive director, said in a statement: "Our hearts go out to the spellers who won’t get their final shot at winning because of the pandemic and the difficult decisions it is prompting us to make." 

Next year's spelling bee is slated for June 1-3. ESPN has been the host since 1994. The last time the event, which began in 1925, was canceled came in 1945 as a result of World War II. 

Organizers noted they will find a way to recognize the more than 150 spellers who had already won their regional spelling bees and qualified for the national finals.