Spring, Summer Sports To Reopen

Sports Editor

Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted opened the door for spring and summer sports to begin this month and shining some hope for all fall sports season.

During the governor's daily press briefing, Husted said limited and/or non-contact sports leagues, such as baseball, softball, golf and tennis, are able to begin May 26 with exceptions.

Those exceptions are posted online at Coronavirus.Ohio.Gov.

The spring sports season was canceled in April and the ACME Baseball Congress also canceled its summer season.

Husted added that there are workgroups who are working on the higher contact sports such as lacrosse, hockey, field hockey, soccer and basketball, among others. He also said that sports such as volleyball and gymnastics bring their own special challenges that the workgroups are working on future guidance for those sports. Pools are also set to reopen May 26, which opens the door for summer swim leagues. 

"We know that there are other leagues, from frisbee to corn hole and bocce and there will be general guidance for those non-contact activities regarding social distancing and sanitizing equipment,' Histed said. "These protocols are designed to allow us to do the things that we love while also keeping out loved ones safe.

"I want to be clear that we are talking about pools that are regulated by local health departments — those could be public pools or clubs — what we are not talking about is water parks or amusement parks."

Earlier this month, the Ohio High School Athletic Association extended the no-contact period to June 1 with DeWine's stay-at-home order extended to May 29.

In addition to the order, Health Director Dr. Amy Acton signed an order that all school buildings that provide any K-12 instruction are to remain closed to students until 11:59 p.m. June 30. And despite news on Thursday, school facilities around the state will remain closed and the OHSAA non-contact period is still in effect.

"The goal is that we go back to school in the fall, but one thing that we have learned about this virus is there is still a lot that we don't know," the governor said. "The department of education have working groups made up of educators who are looking at different things and different possibilities and I know that each school is accessing how they are going to go back to school in the fall and deal with the COVID virus.

"But there is no way for us to predict where we are going to be with this virus by mid-August."

DeWine added that he knew that some sports depends on the access of school grounds and his staff is currently looking into it, but did not have an answer to give on Thursday. He did, however, say he would consider reopening school facilities where the sports that have been allowed to resume can take place.

Husted said school grounds are not technically closed in the Ohio Department of Health's order that schools be closed, — only only the buildings fall under that jurisdiction. 

"Much of this will be open to the local community's decision," Husted said. "We are not forcing them to open anything. We are allowing them to do so."