August 18, 2020
Coaches, Athletes and Parents,
I had the privilege to sit in on a conference call with Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor John Husted this evening. The Governor will be releasing a new Ohio Department of Health order on Wednesday, August 19, 2020. The order will allow contact sports to proceed this fall under strict protocols that will be outlined in the order. The Governor noted in our conference call that COVID-19 cases have been reduced in the urban areas throughout the state as a result of the “mask order”, social distancing and other state mandates. Despite the reduced number of cases being identified in the larger populated areas, rural areas throughout the state are seeing a significant increase in the spread of the virus. Governor DeWine stated that, “there is nowhere to hide from this virus.”
Under the guidelines provided by the CDC, all interscholastic sports will be required to continue monitoring and performing symptom checks for all athletes and coaches prior to practices and contests. All diagnosed cases of COVID-19 must be reported immediately by athletes, parents and coaches. It is vital that athletes and parents understand the importance of being honest and forthcoming of any COVID diagnosis. In order for our sports seasons to successfully continue, we must prevent the outbreak of COVID-19 within our teams. Local county health departments will continue to be responsible for contact tracing as a result of a diagnosed case. Individuals with COVID-19 and those who have been in direct contact with the individual must quarantine for 14 days prior to returning to the team/program. Diagnosed athletes and coaches must receive medical clearance prior to returning the team/program.
As leaders of the athletic program, our administration and coaches must set a tone for our student-athletes. We must establish a culture where students are provided with knowledge regarding COVID-19 and what they can do to prevent the further spread of the virus. The Governor’s order will provide learning materials for both coaches and players. All individuals affiliated with our athletic program are being asked to review these materials thoroughly. In addition to reviewing this information with our athletes, I am asking our coaches to be innovative in how they are conduct drills and practices so that we can prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
Sometimes to their detriment, our student-athletes think they are invincible. However in the case of COVID-19, younger individuals are just as susceptible to contracting the virus as adults. Although the symptoms may not be as significant in the younger population, juveniles are able to spread the virus just as much as anyone else. Therefore, our student-athletes must be constantly vigilant whether it is on or off the playing surface. Please be accountable of your surroundings at all times, do not put yourself in a situation where you could be exposed to the virus. Wear a mask when in public. Try to remain as socially distant as possible on and off the field/court. Please be responsible at all times, it is critical to the success of our athletic program and teams that we all do our part!
Further details regarding schedules, spectator attendance and contest management will be provided following the release of the Governor’s order.
Rob Eckenrode, CAA
Certified Athletic Administrator
Nordonia Hills City Schools