Local school leaders believe fall sports will be played, despite some players’ positive COVID-19 tests

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STRONGSVILLE, Ohio (WJW) – Many area school leaders are optimistic sports can be played this fall, despite several players already testing positive for COVID-19.

“I think we are going to be OK moving forward,” says Strongsville High School Principal Bill Wingler. “I do think it’s possible. There is going to be more bumps and bruises and I think that is the new normal because of COVID-19.”

Strongsville High School suspended football practices through Thursday because of a confirmed case of COVID -19, and canceled the first game.

“We want to always err on the side of safety here in Strongsville so we went ahead and shut down for the week,” Wingler said.

Several other schools including Kirtland and Mayfield had similar issues.

On Wednesday, two Mayfield football players tested positive for COVID-19. The Mayfield football Freshmen, Junior Varsity and Varsity teams have been suspended from play and practice, until further notice. This news comes a day after it was announced that eight volleyball players at Mayfield High School tested positive for coronavirus.

And Summit County health officials say they had 16 high school athletes test positive with COVID-19. Erie County had seven students.

“They have been in all different sports,” said Ashley Franks, an epidemiologist with the Erie County Health Department.

Kirtland High School in Lake County also reported this week that a student-athlete on a volleyball team and band tested positive.

Last week, Gov. Mike DeWine issued a new order regarding team athletics in Ohio that permits all sports to practice and engage in competition with mandatory requirements.

The order itself declares that COVID-19 continues to present a substantial risk to Ohioans. It further states that risk increases when an athlete participates in team-based practices and adds that competition between different teams creates more risk.

Several area school districts have also fully canceled fall sports.

Schools that are taking part in sports this fall say they are making sure students and staff are following the proper protocols.

“The protocols do work and we have had some teams compete already,” Wingler said. “Soccer has already had a game, cross country competed on Monday. We have had tennis and golf. I think it’s going to happen but I think we just all have to be patient.”

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