COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW) — Governor Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health are expected to release their guidelines regarding student-athletics on Tuesday.
During his coronavirus news briefing Thursday afternoon DeWine said he has been working with the school leaders, coaches and the Ohio High School Athletic Association to devise a plan for school athletics.
DeWine says experts are finalizing the plan this weekend and while he didn’t reveal much, he did say the decision about playing school will ultimately be up to parents and school officials.
“Our goal is to have this decided by parents, number one, and school officials and local health departments number two,” said DeWine.
He says the state will limit the number of fans but hopes to have parents and close family members able to attend school sporting events.
“We want athletes to compete but we want to do it as safely as possible. We want to make sure that parents, the people who mean a lot to that particular child, have the opportunity to see them,” he said.
Tuesday’s plan will address many questions Ohio families have about the upcoming athletic season.
Previously, OHSAA announced that fall sports seasons will go forward as planned. In fact, low/non‐contact sports and contact sports were permitted to begin official practices Saturday, August 1.
The organization also announced that Ohio’s regular high school football season would be shortened to six games, if the sport is permitted by state officials. Under this plan the regular season would begin the week of August 24 and run through the week of September 28. All teams would be eligible to enter the OHSAA playoffs and the number of playoff rounds will be dependent on the number of schools that enter the playoffs in each division.
Additionally, OHSAA recently sent out a 22-page document on recommendations for a return to play during COVID-19.
The organization strongly recommended daily pre-participation screening for all athletes, coaches, trainers and school personnel, including temperature screenings, most if not all schools in northeast Ohio are already following that guideline.
OHSAA also asked that all players wear masks to and from games, when arriving at the game site and when not involved in the field of play.