COLUMBUS — High school sports will go on this year in Crawford and Morrow counties and across the state. And that includes all fall sports, contact or non-contact.

Complete guidelines will be announced in the next couple of days.

If a student/athlete comes down with COVID-19, it will be up to the schools and and local health departments to determine quarantines or other steps to take to protect other players or students or the community.

One of the guidelines includes fewer spectators at sporting events. Spectators will only include families of athletes involved. Only those who are very close to those athletes will be allowed to attend. 

Those rules will apply to bands, drill teams, cheerleaders, etc. Those activities also will be able to continue, but with limited spectators.

School districts will determine guidelines about the numbers of fans and family members who can attend.

DeWine said when the guidelines come out, there will be no surprises.

He also said he knows the pressure is on for everyone who wants to have sports.

“Everyone will be bearing the responsiblility to be able to continue to play,” he said. “The pressure will be on students and parents and coaches to do all that is possible to allow these sports to continue.

‘I hope the desire to have a season will inspire our young people, our student/athletes, to be as responsible as they can be … 24/7.”

He appreciates the effort that coaches are putting in, but it will get even more difficult for them as seasons continue.

“We hope coaches will use these circumstances as an opportunity to help students learn. We hope that young men and women will make the right decisions in their lives, the decisions to give them the best chance they can to play these sports.”

DeWine continued: “We know coaches inspire and mentor kids. We thank you for that. But this year it will require more than that as we try to keep these student/athletes healthy.”

DeWine talked about some schools wishing that fall sports could be postponed until spring. It was something that was discussed, but no one knows if it will be any more safe to play in the spring than it is now, he said.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said it is now up to everyone in a community to play a part in following the rules.

“Off the field we all have to do the right things … wear the masks, keep social distance, etc.,” he said. “And hopefully it will encourage hundreds of thousands of others to do the same thing.”

Site inspectors will be at local sporting events to make sure rules and regulations are being followed.

“We hope that everyone in communities and school districts are taking this seriously. Games could be forfeited if rules are not being followed.”

But DeWine and Husted both said while there is hope, everything depends on what happens and if people do what they are being asked to do. But it all starts with students and their families.

“Here is the chance to play the sports you love and for you to show us you can be responsible to follow these rules,” he said.

By Russ Kent

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