Ohio high schools could be asked to shell out a lot of money if they move forward with prep sports this fall.
According to WKRC-TV in Cincinnati, some Ohio high schools may have to cancel fall sports because of the costs required to frequently test athletes for COVID-19. The current Ohio Department of Health mandate requires teams competing in contact sports to have all athletes and staff members test negative for coronavirus within 72 hours before competition begins.
"Basically the testing makes fall sports a non-starter for us," Lockland High School head athletic trainer Kim Barber-Foss told WKRC. "We just do not have the financial and economic resources to support testing that many athletes, coaches, athletic trainers, support staff every week. At a school like Lockland, we have to supply our resources where it matters most, and that’s with these schools in the classroom and that’s with these educational resources."
According to WKRC, an average test costs about $125. If every athlete and staff member is tested, it would cost thousands of dollars per week throughout a fall that is full of uncertainty as high schools, colleges and professional sports struggle to restart competition during the pandemic.
Cleveland.com reported Tuesday that Ohio governor Mike DeWine announced a statewide mask mandate for all in-person students from kindergarten through high school this fall. The governor’s office is also working on a return-to-play plan.
"There has been some confusion about this in that the renewal of the order somehow represents the plan to play this fall. I want you to know that’s not the case," Ohio lieutenant governor Jon Husted said Tuesday. "We’re still working with the Ohio High School Athletic Association to finalize that plan and we’re still considering many options."
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