COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Department of Health extended the expiration date of the Second Amended Order that provides guidance for contact sport practices and non-contact sport competitions on Saturday evening.
The extension basically keeps in place the need for social distancing and precautionary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 throughout the state of Ohio.
Essentially, the announcement provides clarification that all high school sports can begin practice and training for all sports — but also noted that only competitive games and tournaments are permitted for non-contact sports (golf, volleyball, girls tennis) at this time.
Contact sports, such as football, cross country and soccer, are only permitted to have intra-club/team scrimmages at the moment. Practices and/or open gyms with another team or club are not permitted in contact sports unless all involved teams comply with the requirements set forth in Section 10 of this extended Order.
Spectators are still not permitted at the contact sports competitive inter-club team play.
All participants must remain in isolation with teammates and team staff from the time the test is administered. Athletes and staff are required to have daily temperature checks and wear face coverings at all times while outside room and within their quarantine areas.
Now, Section 10 requirements state that each team member in a contact sport must prove that he or she has passed a coronavirus test within 72 hours of that competition.
For football or cross country, each athlete would need to be tested — and pass — on a weekly basis leading up to the event.
Soccer, and to some degree cross country, has the potential for multiple games in the same school week — making a prior 72-hour test a little bit harder to realistic produce.
It also adds another layer of expense to athletic departments that are likely looking to save money this fall.
Roughly 40 schools in the state of Ohio have either cancelled or suspended fall sports already, based on the recommendation of local health officials.
The Order will stay in effect until the state of emergency declared by Governor Mike DeWine no longer exists or the state health department rescinds or modifies the Order.
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Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.