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OHSAA asks Department of Health to modify safety, spectator protocols

The Ohio High School Athletic Association has asked the Ohio Department of Health to modify some of its protocols for contact sports.

One day after the Ohio Department of Health extended its guidance regarding contact sports, the Ohio High School Athletic Association is asking it to modify some of its protocols.

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In a statement posted to social media on Sunday, the OHSAA said that it is "working to confirm details with the Ohio Department of Health (ODH)" regarding the extension of its order regarding protocols for contact and non-contact athletic competitions. The OHSAA said that once those details are confirmed, it will issue a memo to school administrators and share it via its social media channels and website.

In particular, the OHSAA appears to have taken issue with the ODH's rulings regarding safety protocols for competitors and spectators.

"The OHSAA continues to work with the Governor's Office and the ODH regarding our requested modifications for high school sports regarding safety protocols and spectators," the statement from the OHSAA reads.

Among the guidelines for contact sports outlined by the ODH is a requirement for a COVID-19 test to be administered to each athlete and team staff member participating in the competition no more than 72 hours prior to the start of the competition. The results of the tests must be in hand prior to the start of the competition.

Additionally, the ODH has ruled that "spectators are not permitted at the contact sports competitive inter-club/team play." It later defined contact sports as football, basketball, rugby, field hockey, soccer, lacrosse, wrestling, hockey, boxing, futsal and martial arts with opponents.

On Friday, the OHSAA reaffirmed its plans to move forward with its fall seasons amid concerns regarding the coronavirus. Despite the OHSAA's stance and guidance from the ODH, many districts have paused their activities and athletics while waiting to finalize reopening plans for the upcoming academic calendar.