AKRON, Ohio — Summit County Public Health (SCPH) is advising schools to hold off on starting competitive sports play until at least October 1 due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.
In a letter sent to school administrators on Friday and shared with 3News on Saturday, SCPH says it is encouraging schools to consider three key recommendations to the start of fall sports:
- Delaying the start of competitive play to October 1
- Shortening the competitive play season for moderate and high-risk sports
- Limiting spectators to two (2) per athlete, or consider eliminating spectators all together
Among the 'moderate and high-risk' fall sports are football, field hockey, soccer and volleyball.
"Summit County Public Health understands that sports are important factor in the development of children, these are uncertain times and we are asking you to consider making adjustments to the Fall sports season to protect the health of your students/coaches and their families. In Summit County, we have already seen situations where teams and coaches have been exposed and been required to quarantine," wrote Summit County Public Health Commissioner Donna Skoda.
Skoda says SCPH has reviewed guidance from the Ohio High School Athletic Association and believes that it provides practical recommendations to keep students, coaches, officials and spectators safe.
"However, COVID-19 contact sports make it very difficult to maintain six feet of social distance or wear masks, the two most effective strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19," she added.
Summit County is currently at a Level 2/Orange, which recommends limiting exposure and exercising a high degree of caution. Level 2 also advises that there be a decrease in in-person interactions outside of the household.