Governor DeWine announced that on June 22, 2020, contact practice for all sports activities and non-contact sport competitions can resume. As with other reopening announcements, it comes with an order containing mandates and recommendations to be followed. All players, coaches, trainers, officials, organizers and spectators should be made aware of these expectations. For instance, it is notable that prior to competitive tournaments for non-contact sports, the order requires tournament organizers to alert the local health department.
This order, however, is not exhaustive. It only establishes the bare minimum requirements. School districts are still encouraged to examine their exposure to risk and adopt stricter standards accordingly. As stated in this prior alert, additional considerations include the following:
• How will regular sanitization be accomplished?
• How will social distancing be enforced?
• Can all activities even be accommodated?
• How are students or employees screened for the virus?
• How is medical information protected?
• What strategies are in place to minimize congregating people?
• What protocol will be followed to address a confirmed COVID-19 case?
• Have you been assured that insurance will cover COVID-related scenarios?
• How do you regulate and enforce the conduct of third parties and visiting teams?
• How will the requirements be communicated to students, parents and spectators?
• Does the county Board of Health have additional restrictions to follow?
• How will you address non-compliant players, officials or spectators?
Simply following the order is not enough to minimize risk. Just because contact practices and non-contact competitions can begin next week does not necessarily mean they should. Once these questions are answered and a plan is in place, then perhaps it’s finally time to “play ball!”