Area athletes can begin working out at their schools next week.
While a moratorium on athletic games and competitions is still in place in Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine announced Thursday training for all sports can resume Tuesday. The Ohio High School Athletic Association followed on Friday by sending a memo to member schools detailing its plans to lift its no-contact period for all sports.
The OHSAA’s no-contact period was set to expire at the end of May and the association had previously said it was likely to extend the period until the end of June.
After DeWine’s announcement last week that low- to no-contact sports could resume Tuesday, the OHSAA announced six sports would have no-contact periods lifted.
But on Thursday, DeWine announced training for all sports can resume, and the OHSAA soon followed by saying it would end its no-contact period for all sports, including contact sports like football and basketball.
The state government and the OHSAA also have adjusted regulations to allow for conditioning to be done at schools. The state had a school facility closure in place through June, but the order has been amended to allow districts to open indoor and outdoor athletic facilities.
The Ohio Department of Health has outlined many rules for skills training. Participants and instructors must maintain six-foot spacing, and no touching is allowed. The regulations specifically mention high-fives, huddles and other close contact as being barred.
Coaches and players must also perform coronavirus self-symptom checks before attending training sessions and must stay home if they have symptoms. Equipment at training facilities must be cleaned “before, during and after every event.”
DeWine clarified on Thursday that while training activities are allowed to take place, athletic games and competitions are still prohibited.
The state’s ban on athletic activities and the OHSAA’s no-contact period were put in place in mid-March as a part of wide efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. The association initially postponed winter sports tournaments and spring sports but later canceled both.
Snodgrass said during a video conference with the Greater Columbus Sports Commission on Thursday he’s hopeful fall sports — namely football — will take place.
“That is a question that is just burning for everyone, so I want to preface it by saying no one wants it back more than we do,” Snodgrass said. “High school football on Friday nights …brings people together.
“How confident am I? I would tell you the next couple of weeks are going to answer that for me. …I’m an eternal optimist. And if you ask me right now, I do believe we go forward in a normal routine with football with some safeguards.”
The National Federation of State High School Associations released guidance earlier this week outlining the resumption of high school sports, and Snodgrass said that will serve as a framework to help the OHSAA’s planning.
Reach Bryant Billing at 937-538-4818, or follow @SidneyOHSports on Twitter and @BryantBillingSDN on Facebook.