OHSAA

Athens, Alexander, Trimble and Federal Hocking High Schools are pausing athletic workouts due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Athens High School Supt. Thomas Gibbs sent an email to athletic staff on Sunday stating that all athletic and extracurricular activities are closed for the next two weeks, effective immediately.

“The rapid increases in cases in Athens County makes our community one of the fastest growing areas for COVID infection per capita in the country,” Gibbs wrote. “While we are not aware of additional cases directly related to our athletic programs at this time, I feel it is in the best interest of our community to put in place greater restrictions for the time being until we have a better understanding of the degree of community spread.”

Athens’ practices and workouts will be closed until at least Monday, July 27.

Athens High School athletic director Rick Guimond also tweeted on Sunday night about the two-week closure, saying that it was ‘due to the rapid increase of Athens County COVID cases.’

Guimond continued, “Please know that our goal is the safety of our students and a return to play. Let’s encourage each other to invest in our fall season.”

The Athens softball team started a summer schedule last week, playing doubleheaders on Monday and Tuesday. Head softball coach Roger Bissell also confirmed on twitter that the team won’t play for the next two weeks, and hoped to return to the field in August.

The Athens Attack baseball team was able to play 18 games this summer, starting on June 9. The team shut down its season last Wednesday, canceling its final five games. The season was scheduled to conclude last weekend.

Alexander is halting its workouts for just one week. Head football coach Earich Dean posted on his Facebook page on Sunday evening that ‘All sport practices and facilities at Alexander will be closed for one week. This is a precautionary closing only.”

Federal Hocking announced its decision on Monday afternoon. Like Athens, Federal Hocking will shut down its athletic activities through Monday, July 27.

Supt. Dave Hanning wrote in a statement that his decision came after communicating with high school administration.

“While we are not aware of cases directly related to our athletic programs at this time, I feel it is in the best interest of our community to put in place greater restrictions for the time being until we have a better understanding of the degree of community spread,” Hanning wrote.

The Trimble Local School District announced on Monday that it was suspending all extracurricular activities for one week.

Nelsonville-York was still conducting summer activities as of Monday afternoon.

The Athens City-County Health Department reported 28 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, and 25 more on Monday. That brought the total number of cases in the county to 192, with 153 being active.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association has allowed schools to resume workouts in phases over the summer, in accordance with Gov. Mike DeWine. The OHSAA sent out a memo to schools on Tuesday, July 7, stating that the organization anticipates fall sports practices to begin on Aug. 1, but that those plans can be modified or canceled depending on the pandemic.

Email at kwiseman@athensmessenger.com; follow on Twitter @KevinWmessenger

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