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Scripps National Spelling Bee suspends national finals

March 20, 2020 By Valerie Miller

If possible, the Bee will explore options to reschedule for later this year


CINCINNATI — The Scripps National Spelling Bee is suspending the 2020 national finals in National Harbor, Maryland. The Bee recognizes the important responsibility to take action that protects the health and well-being of its participants including the spellers, their families, the local sponsors, employees of The E.W. Scripps Company and others who support the event known as Bee Week. The executive order from Maryland Governor Larry Hogan prohibiting gatherings of more than 50 people until the termination of the state of emergency in Maryland as well as recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention underscore the decision to suspend the national finals.

The suspension includes all in-person events and the live national broadcast the week of May 24. If possible, the Bee will work with local sponsors, spellers, convention partners and ESPN to reschedule the 93rd Scripps National Spelling Bee for later this year.

The world is navigating through uncertainty, and while the timing of the national finals is just outside the eight-week window recommended by the CDC, this is the safest and most responsible action. This was a difficult decision that unfortunately will disappoint students who have spent a great deal of time studying and preparing, along with their parents and teachers who have supported them. The focus now shifts to exploring all options to possibly reimagine a competition for later this year.

The Bee will keep local sponsors, spellers, parents and teachers informed in the coming days and weeks through direct emails, and social media as it determines next steps in this unprecedented situation.

About the Scripps National Spelling Bee:
The Scripps National Spelling Bee is the nation’s largest and longest-running educational program. The purpose of the Scripps National Spelling Bee is to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives. Visit for more information about the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which is administered on a not-for-profit basis by The E.W. Scripps Company.

About Scripps:
The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP) advances understanding of the world through journalism. As the nation’s fourth-largest independent TV station owner, Scripps operates 60 television stations in 42 markets. Scripps empowers the next generation of news consumers with its multiplatform news network Newsy and reaches growing audiences through broadcast networks including Bounce and Court TV. Shaping the future of storytelling through digital audio, Scripps owns top podcast company Stitcher and Triton, the global leader in technology and measurement services. Scripps runs an award-winning investigative reporting newsroom in Washington, D.C., and is the longtime steward of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Founded in 1878, Scripps has held for decades to the motto “Give light and the people will find their own way.”

For questions or general inquiries:

For media inquiries only:
Valerie Miller, Communications Manager