Tiffin City Schools Athletics Director Daniel Hartsel provided an update Friday on the district’s fall sports programs.
Hartsel’s update came after the Ohio High School Athletic (OHSAA) reaffirmed their position that the OHSAA fall sports seasons will go forward as planned.
Currently, Tiffin City Schools athletic programs have been holding conditioning, pre-season, and instructional times to get student-athletes prepared. The approach since the initial athletics phasing has been to provide student-athletes with the opportunities to return to a new “norm,” Hartsel said.
In a letter sent to member schools, OHSAA interim executive director Bob Goldring said low/non-contact sports and contact sports will be permitted to begin officials practices on Aug. 1 as had been previously announced.
Low/non-contact sports such as golf, girls tennis, and volleyball can begin official practices on Aug. 1, and school vs. school scrimmages and/or contests will follow per their normal OHSAA permissible dates and regulations.
For golf, one scrimmage is permitted any time during the season, with first contests taking place Aug. 5. One scrimmage is permitted for girls tennis after practice begins and prior to first matches, with the first contest taking place Aug. 7. For volleyball, five scrimmages and one preview are permitted after practice begins, with the first contest on Aug. 21.
Tiffin City Schools and its opponents will not be allowing spectators at any volleyball scrimmages.
For football, officials practices will begin Aug. 1 with the normal acclimatization period in place. No school vs. school scrimmages are permitted. School vs. school contests will follow per their normal OHSAA permissible dates and regulations with a target date of the week of Monday, Aug. 24. This date is subject to change and subject to approval from Gov. Mike DeWine’s office and the Ohio Department of Health, with the stipulation that COVID-19 testing will not be required.
Hartsel said at this time, there has been limited discussion on guidelines, recommendations, and mandates from the OHSAA in regards to spectators at Tiffin City Schools events. There has been discussion with the Seneca County General Health District, as well as with Sandusky Bay Conference members in regards to this topic.
Hartsel believes that there will be either a number or percentage placed on the amount of spectators allowed into a contest. “With that belief, we have been looking into several ways to live stream our events (indoor and outdoor). We will continue to plan and update once something has been confirmed,” Hartsel said.
Other contact sports such as soccer, field hockey, and cross country can begin practices on Aug. 1 as well, with the normal acclimatization period in place for cross country. No school vs. school scrimmages are permitted in soccer or field hockey. School vs. school contests will follow per their normal OHSAA permissible dates and regulations with a target date of Aug. 21 for soccer and field hockey and Aug. 24 for cross country. Those dates are also subject to change and subject to approval by the governor’s office and the Ohio Department of Health.
If contact sports are not approved for school vs. school competition by Friday, Sept. 4, fall contact sports and remaining winter and spring sports will move to a condensed schedule that will take place between mid-December and the end of June. Fall non-contact sports would move forward as scheduled.
If the fall seasons begin and, for some reason, are stopped but then resume, the OHSAA has plans to move to a modified fall sports season. If contact sports are approved for school vs. school competition, the OHSAA is prepared to set COVID-19-related requirements for schools to follow for competitions as requested by the governor’s office.
Conversations with the governor’s office and the Ohio Department of Health continue regarding the status of field hockey and/or cross country being placed into the low/non-contact category. Member schools will be updated if that changes for either or both sports.