COLUMBUS — In a statement on Tuesday, the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) noted that three of its fall sports may begin competitions as scheduled, while others are still waiting for approval.
“As previously communicated to schools, the OHSAA is moving forward with our normal fall sports seasons and, as always, each school will determine which sports they sponsor. Three of the OHSAA’s fall sports have already been declared by the Governor as low-contact, including boys and girls golf, girls tennis and volleyball, meaning those sports can have competitions between schools,” read the statement released on the OHSAA Twitter account.
Regarding the remaining fall sports, the statement continued, “The OHSAA’s other fall sports, including cross country, field hockey, soccer and football, have not yet been approved by the Governor to have competitions between schools. Those four sports can practice, but the Governor must approve competition between schools. The OHSAA is working with the Governor’s Office toward safety protocols and permissions for those sports this fall.”
The OHSAA had stated on Sunday that it is proceeding as if fall sports will take place as planned with practices to officially begin on Aug. 1 and state tournaments to proceed as scheduled.
“As we all have seen during this pandemic, those plans can be modified or cancelled quickly,” read the statement on Sunday.
In recent weeks, the state launched the #IWantASeason campaign online to promote the use of masks, social distancing and increased sanitation in order to slow the spread of coronavirus with the goal of having fall sports this year.
The hopeful return to sports comes after high school athletics were paused during the basketball and wrestling postseason competitions in March. Following the decision from the state not to return to the classroom in the spring, the OHSAA was ultimately forced to cancel the spring sports seasons as well.
Summer workouts have been taking place locally as permitted under state guidelines as they approach the start of official practices. Those workouts have included temperature checks, social distancing and smaller groups.
Several school districts in nearby Athens County halted workouts earlier this week following a rise in cases in that county.
Federal Hocking Local Schools, a member of the TVC Hocking which includes local schools Southern, Eastern and South Gallia, posted the following message regarding athletics and other extra curricular activities:
After several communications with the High School Administration over the weekend and this morning, we are ordering all athletic and extra-curricular practices/programs suspended until further notice.
This includes all activities on our campus involving youth through varsity sports.
The rapid increase in cases in Athens County makes our community one of the fastest growing areas for COVID infection per capita in the country.
While we are not aware of any cases directly related to our athletic programs at this time, we feel it is in the best interest of our community to put in place greater restrictions for the time being until we have a better understanding of the degree of community spread.
This directive is in place effective immediately through at least Monday, July 27, 2020.
Similar messages have been sent by other districts.
Additional guidelines from Governor Mike DeWine are expected soon as the beginning of falls sports approaches.
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Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.