Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted: ‘We want student-athletes to return to play'

Ohio Secretary of State John Husted says he’s “strongly considering” a bid for governor but won’t make a “final decision” for a couple months. BILL LACKEY/STAFF FILE

Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said Tuesday the state is still evaluating plans for return to play for contact sports in Ohio.

That includes talks with the Ohio High School Athletics Association, Ohio High School Football Coaches Association and the state’s two pro football teams.

“We have had discussions with the Browns and Bengals to discuss their plans for return to play this season,” Husted said during a press conference. “While both teams are likely able to return to competition under the existing order, we are also reviewing their plans as it relates to safely accommodating fans.”

ExploreDeWine says more guidance forthcoming

The existing order, which was issued in July and extended Saturday, includes strict protocols for testing and quarantining athletes and staff in contact sports.

“There has been some confusion about this in that the renewal of the order, somehow represents the plan for return to play this fall. I want you to know that’s not the case,” Husted said.

“We are still working with the Ohio High School Athletic Association to finalize that plan, and we’re still considering many options. We’re trying to keep the options open because we want student-athletes to return to play. We’re trying to accommodate both the health and the practical considerations that must go into any decision for the athletes, coaches, and fans.

“We understand the uncertainty and the anticipation surrounding the hopefully forthcoming announcement of that new guidance here in the near future, and I can tell you as the governor alluded there’s nobody in Ohio that I think wants to get this accomplished more than I do. We are working thoughtfully though, to make sure that we get these plans finalized in the right way.”

Later in the press conference, DeWine was asked directly if the testing provisions in the initial order were directed at high schools. 

He replied they were not. 

“We just continued the old order,” DeWine said. “People looked at that and got understandably upset about it.

“Testing: When or if you’re trying to keep COVID out someplace, or outside a particular group, the more testing you can do, the better. We don’t have the ability to do that kind of mas testing today. Obviously if you did have the ability to do it, then that would be up to the individuals if they wanted to be tested. It would be up to up to the schools whether they could actually even do that. We don’t have the capability of that today so it’s simply not on the table to do that all.” 

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