COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted announced Tuesday afternoon that competitive games and tournaments are now permitted for high school contact sports between different programs until July 15 if all health guidelines are followed.
The Ohio Department of Health issued a director's order that provided guidance for those contact sports competitions during that period under specified guidelines.
Husted emphasized this is on a short-term basis and is only permissible "so long as the teams agree to the list of guidelines in the order including such things as testing of all players, coaches, athletic trainers, support staff, officials before travel to the competition and during the tenure of the stay."
Husted said this also includes daily symptom assessments, athletic trainers wearing mask coverings attending to athletes and coaches and officials are strongly recommended to wear face coverings if possible.
The guidelines also require strict social distancing for athletes who are not actively engaged in competition.
Tuesday's announcement opens the door for opposing schools to compete in seven-on-seven football workouts, for example, until July 15.
Husted said the governor's office will continue to evaluate everything later this month in order to make informed decisions going forward with school sports.
The hope is that the one-week timeline could be expanded later leading into official fall sports practice, which is scheduled to start Aug. 1, according to the Ohio High School Athletic Association calendar.
The OHSAA has been in a Phase 2 order for contact sports since June 18, meaning intrasquad scrimmages and open gyms were permitted within the same school program at the same school site.
The OHSAA had 816 member high schools and approximately 760 seventh- to eighth-grade schools in the association in the 2019-20 school year. The OHSAA represents over 350,000 students competing in 26 sanctioned sports – 13 for boys and 13 for girls.