Coronavirus: OHSAA grades schools on health guideline compliance during games

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine holds up a mask, urging Ohioans to wear them, during a news conference Friday, Oct. 9, 2020, at the Patterson Homestead in Dayton. JIM NOELKER/STAFF
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine holds up a mask, urging Ohioans to wear them, during a news conference Friday, Oct. 9, 2020, at the Patterson Homestead in Dayton. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

The Ohio High School Athletic Association has hired observers to evaluate and educate schools on how well they are following health guidelines, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said.

Each time observers attend a game or match, they report back to the district on how well they did and then issue a grade.

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Observers have attended 458 sites over the last eight weeks, including 600 football games, 50 volleyball games and 50 soccer games, Husted said.

Most schools have reacted well to the reports, he said. He added that a failure didn’t mean a school wasn’t attempting to follow guidelines.

In most cases where health guidelines weren’t being followed, it typically involved student athletes who were enthusiastic over a great play or scoring, Husted said.

Ohio’s ability to keep children in school during the coronavirus depends on how well the state can prevent the virus' spread, Gov. Mike DeWine said.

“It really depends on what we’re willing to do,” DeWine said, noting that Ohioans can change the state’s direction.

In the last two weeks, at least 16 school districts have moved to hybrid or remote learning due to the virus' spread, DeWine said. There are at least 50 school districts online with 300,000 students learning remotely.

The governor said that it should concern Ohioans that so many children are going to school remotely. He noted that while some kids are able to learn online without issues, others do not do as well.

“We owe it to these kids to fight back against this virus and reduce community spread,” he said. “We owe it to their future. We owe it to the state’s future. We can control this through what we do every single day.”

Just over 2,000 cases of coronavirus were reported Tuesday in Ohio. The state’s total is now 185,639 cases, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

There were 216 hospitalizations reported in the last 24 hours.

“That’s the highest number of hospitalizations we’ve ever reported,” DeWine said, adding it’s 50 more than the state’s previous high in July.

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There were eight deaths reported for a total of 5,083. ICU admissions increased by 36 for a total of 3,597.

“People’s lives are at stakes. We worry about our hospitals starting to fill up,” DeWine said. “We worry about long-term damage people may have as they recover.”

ODH Interim Director Lance Himes amended a public health directive requiring labs to share all positive, negative, inconclusive and invalid coronavirus test data with the state health department.

The additional data will help the state have a fuller picture of how the virus is spreading. It also will allow Ohio to share positivity data by county.

A second round of workers' compensation dividends checks totaling $1.3 billion will be sent out in the mail starting Friday to help employers struggling during the pandemic, DeWine said.

Checks will be sent out through the end of October and will not be directly deposited.

The governor also said the state is working on more programs to use CARES Act funding to help Ohioans struggling with rent, mortgages and water and utility bills, as well as assistance for small businesses.

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In the last week, Ohio has reported more than 13,000 cases of coronavirus, including four days where at least 2,000 new cases were logged.

DeWine has spent recent weeks asking Ohioans continue following safety guidelines as local health officials say people are getting lax with mask wearing and social distancing.

As cases continue to climb, the state also is seeing an increase in hospitalizations and positivity rates. Over the last two weeks, both hospitalizations and positivity rates have nearly doubled, according to state health department data.

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