No-contact period to be lifted Tuesday, schools plan for potential return

Edgewood High School Athletic Administrator Steve Kray puts as many 20s on the scoreboard as possible at Corlew Field in Ashtabula Township to honor the Class of 2020 during senior light up night in late April. The Ohio High School Athletic Association plans to lift the no-contact period for six sports on Tuesday, but each school will determine on their own when they’ll be ready for the eventual return.

Spring sports have been officially canceled for a little longer than a month now, but the season is not necessarily over.

No Ohio High School Athletic Association contests or state tournaments will be taking place, but OHSAA will lift the no-contact period on May 26 for baseball, softball, track and field, swimming and diving, golf and tennis.

Teams will have to abide by the regulations set forth by the Ohio Health Department. Spectators must maintain six-foot social distancing before, during and after events; participants must not share individual water bottles or other beverages before, during, or after all events; and there is also a no-touch rule that includes high fives, huddles or other close contact.

Equipment and items related to the activity must be sanitized before, during and after every event. If equipment cannot be sanitized during the activity, only participants of a single team must use equipment and items related to the activity and opposing participants avoid touching that equipment.

The health department has also outlined specific regulations for baseball and softball.

All rules can be found at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

Edgewood Athletic Administrator Steve Kray said he met with his coaches on Friday to begin laying the groundwork for an eventual return, but that “there is no way” they will be taking immediate advantage of the no-contact period being lifted on Tuesday.

With all the sanitation and preparation that needs to be done, as well as a few other factors, Kray said he is hoping for June 8 as a target date.

“Right now, there’s just so many different obstacles that you need to make sure you’re ready for, and I want to make sure the safety of the kids is most important at this point, more than getting them into the gym as fast as we possibly can,” Kray said.

Because there is no competition allowed, Kray said he does not expect any mass practices or organized games, but athletes will be able to work on their skills and conditioning. Kray said Edgewood is looking to continue the Warrior Strong program that they have run in years past.

“We’re going to do our best to get kids in the gyms and try and get them some conditioning and get them ready to go, but we also have the responsibility of making sure we make good decisions and put our kids and our families in good positions,” he said.

Other schools, like Pymatuning Valley and Lakeside, have meetings scheduled for next week to discuss their game plans.

Lakeside softball coach Jodi Candela is just excited about the possibility of being able to share another moment with her team.

“I miss those girls,” she said. “I only had a couple weeks with them and then just to see it come to a complete halt just like that, it’s been terrible. I text them all every day and I still give them workouts and things to do, and I try to help them with their school work and whatnot, but I just miss the kids.

“I can’t wait until I’m able to see them again. I’m happy too, because I have six girls that play travel ball and I’m so happy they get to have their travel ball season.”

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