SUMMIT COUNTY, Ohio — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from a story published on December 3, 2020.
In a letter issued today to schools and a press release, Summit County Public Health (SCPH) officials strongly recommended stopping all youth, collegiate, amateur, and club sports competitions amid the growing spread of COVID-19.
The recommendations come after the county entered Level 4 'purple' in the Ohio Public Health Advisory System, the highest level, on December 3. Level 4 'purple' indicates severe exposure and spread of the virus.
County health officials are operating out of an abundance of caution after identifying three priorities: keeping hospital systems from becoming overwhelmed, keeping children in school, and keeping businesses open.
"Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, SCPH has worked to implement disease mitigation strategies and provide guidance and technical assistance to our communities," the letter reads. "Over the past nine months, SCPH has both issued and enforced a variety of state and local health orders and/or advisories designed to keep the public safe."
In order to mitigate the spread of the virus, SCPH feels that stopping school-aged sports is a priority for the county. Additionally, health officials recommend schools consider dropping their learning modality by one level for older students in order to minimize risk.
Additional recommendations from SCPH include minimizing all non-essential travel, shopping online or utilizing curb-side pickup for groceries and household items, limit attending gatherings of any size, and limiting activity to one necessary activity per day such as school or work.
"School districts need to remain nimble and to modify strategies on a real-time basis that assures the safety of everyone. By following these recommendations, we not only protect the students, but we protect the school staff and student's family members as well. We appreciate your willingness to review our considerations for the safety of all," the letter closes.