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DeWine: High school sports can proceed this fall

By The Center Square

COLUMBUS – Both contact and non-contact sports can proceed this year at high schools across Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine said on Tuesday.

However, spectators will largely be barred from attending sporting events. Only parents and those with a direct connection to a student involved can attend, the governor said during a news conference.

Additional details will be included in an order that could be released on Wednesday, DeWine said.

“I hope that the desire to have a season will inspire our young people, our athletes, our student athletes, 24/7, to be as careful as they can,” DeWine said. “And I hope also that our coaches … will use this as an opportunity to focus on helping these young people understand what really is at stake, and that if they’re going to be able to play whatever sport it is they’re playing … that they’re going to have to do everything they can to keep COVID out of their team.”

“I know this is a big day for student athletes,” Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said on Twitter. “The success of this policy is dependent on how well athletes, coaches and families execute the game plan.”

Under the new order, schools will have the latitude to cancel sports seasons or push playing fall sports to the spring.

“There’s not necessarily a right or wrong answer,” DeWine said. “We just ask everyone to weigh everything, make the individual best decision for that particular child, for that team, for that school. What we wanted to do is give as many options as possible.”

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the state has left the decision on how to start the new school year to school districts. As a result, schools across the Buckeye State will employ a mix of in-person, at-home and hybrid options when they reopen.

The Ohio Department of Health said it would issue an order to require K-12 students to wear face masks while at school to help stop the spread of the virus.

Last month, DeWine issued a new order requiring Ohioans to wear a mask while in public. This week, the governor also told state workers to work from home at least until January 2021.

On Tuesday, Ohio reported a cumulative total of 109,923 “confirmed and probable” cases of COVID-19 and 3,871 “confirmed and probable” deaths from the virus.