On Friday, the Ohio High School Association reaffirmed its plans to move forward with its fall sports seasons amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) with practices scheduled to begin on August 1. Not all schools in the state, however, will be hitting the practice field on Saturday.
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In a letter sent to the district on Friday, North Royalton City Schools superintendent Greg Gurka announced that the district would be pausing all activities and athletics until a plan on reopening is finalized.
As noted by the district, its announcement comes one day after the Cuyahoga County Board of Health recommended that schools start the academic calendar with remote learning and no sports or other extracurricular activities taking place.
"Without the implementation of these primary prevention strategies, the potential for COVID-19 transmission between athletes, trainers and coaching staff dramatically increases. Transmission that may occur in these settings has the potential to spread elsewhere in the general community," the CCBH said, adding that data indicates that the current level of community transmission of COVID-19 is '"significant."
Nevertheless, the OHSAA has opted to move forward with its fall seasons as planned. The organization has also said that it could adjust its plans based on guidance from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine or additional information regarding the coronavirus.
“It is important to keep athletic activity moving forward,” said Dan Leffingwell, president of the OHSAA Board of Directors and superintendent of the Noble Local Schools in Sarahsville. “And with that, we believe our member schools provide our student-athletes with the safest possible environment to return to play and that our school programs are the best avenue to help students learn lifelong lessons and provide social, emotional and physical benefits that other programs cannot. Moving forward allows those students to continue to be engaged with their school coaches and teammates. Membership data also supports this decision."