COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio high school sports received a green light to resume this fall, with the option to delay some sports until the spring if schools wish, amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Gov. Mike DeWine announced an order, which takes effect Friday, that provides guidance on how organized sports in Ohio are conducted.
“Our order provides best guidance to play sports as safely as can be played in the era of COVID-19,” DeWine said.
The order applies to all levels of sports and allows them to move forward.
DeWine said these athletes will stay focused on safety and preventing the spread of the virus.
“I hope that the desire to have a season will inspire our young people, our student-athletes, 24/7 to be as careful as they can," the governor said.
In the order, DeWine says spectators for school sports will not be allowed other than family members or someone "very close" to the student-athletes.
The school districts will set the attendance rules and it will include those attending to see watch members of the marching band or cheerleading squads.
Last week, Columbus City Schools halted sports and extracurricular activities, citing the advice of local health officials and concerns about the continued spread of the coronavirus in the area.
Other districts, such as Upper Arlington in suburban Columbus, are allowing students in contact sports such as football to work out in small groups or “pods.”
Dozens of states nationwide have delayed fall sports, and at least 15 won’t play high school football this autumn, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations.
DeWine said a decision on performing arts events, such as school plays, was coming this week, and hinted they would be allowed with precautions such as moving audiences farther back.