HUNTINGTON — The Ohio High School Athletic Association on Wednesday released sport-specific return to play guidelines.
The OHSAA offered the recommendations with the objective of fall sports seasons beginning Aug. 1, as scheduled.
The recommendations are for varsity, non-varsity and seventh- and eighth-grade athletic seasons.
The OHSAA emphasized that participation in school activities is voluntary and each individual may evaluate the risk vs. the benefits of participation.
OHSAA officials wrote that schools should try to significantly mitigate exposure to COVID-19 by:
n Maintaining physical distancing while not on the field or court of play.
n Requiring face coverings while not on the field or court of play.
n Reducing or greatly eliminating unnecessary travel.
n Reducing or eliminating sharing of common equipment.
n Reducing or eliminating contact frequency with student-athletes from schools and non-interscholastic programs outside of each school’s league/conference or normal competition sphere.
Following are recommendations and modifications for specific sports:
The OHSAA will be using National Federation of High Schools rule modifications, as well as some of its own procedural changes.
Changes include an extension to the team box to allow social distancing, ball sanitation, and limiting the number of people on and around the field.
It is also recommended that intermissions between quarters and scores be extended.
It is also recommended that pre- and post-game handshakes be suspended.
The OHSAA said with support from the NFHS Track and Field Rules Committee, recommendations are meant to decrease the potential exposure to respiratory droplets by encouraging social distancing, limiting participation in administrative tasks to essential personnel and allowing for appropriate protective equipment.
The OHSAA said it worked with the NFHS Field Hockey Rules Committee to outline changes and recommendations for the upcoming season.
The OHSAA worked with the Northern Ohio PGA’s Junior Tour and the USGA to develop guidelines for high school golf.
The OHSAA said these guidelines are not mandatory, but rather items for consideration for schools when planning for and participating in golf events.
The OHSAA worked with the NFHS Soccer Rules Committee to develop recommendations safely holding soccer matches.
Working with the NFHS Volleyball Rules Committee, the OHSAA developed considerations to decrease potential exposure to COVID-19.
The OHSAA worked with the USTA to develop guidelines for before, during and after tennis matches.
The OHSAA said additional steps could be taken at different schools to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The organization said as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, these considerations could also become outdated.