Gov. Mike DeWine gave Ohio high school sports such as football and soccer a green light to resume this fall amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
In his COVID-19 press briefing Tuesday, DeWine said sports matter and make a difference in children’s lives.
“It helps with discipline, structure, and joy,” DeWine said of sports.
As for spectators at games, only family and those “very close” to the athletes will be allowed to attend. School districts throughout the state will set the attendance rules and it will include those attending to watch members of the marching band or cheerleading squads.
Soccer teams can begin games this Friday, and the high school football regular season begins Aug. 27.
No other details were provided during Tuesday’s press briefing, but DeWine said he will be issuing the order soon and it will be available on the state’s coronavirus dashboard, coronavirus.ohio.gov.
“It is important to keep athletic activity moving forward,” said Dan Leffingwell, president of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Board of Directors and superintendent of Noble Local Schools in Sarahsville. “And with that, we believe our member schools provide our student-athletes with the safest possible environment to return to play and that our school programs are the best avenue to help students learn lifelong lessons and provide social, emotional and physical benefits that other programs cannot. Moving forward allows those students to continue to be engaged with their school coaches and teammates.”