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Columbus City Schools Suspends Fall Sports And Extracurriculars

Empty Basketball Courts at the former Dominion Middle School.
Mary Rathke
WOSU Public Media
Empty Basketball Courts at Dominion Middle School.

Columbus City Schools is dropping sports and in-person extracurriculars, at least for now, to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The district already moved to push all K-12 classes online.

After a slew of college conferences announced the cancellation of fall sports, including the Big Ten, it’s not much of a surprise that local high schools would follow suit. Still, Columbus City Schools superintendent Talisa Dixon describes the decision as a “difficult one.”

“I believe as the CEO that this best for my students and our community," Dixon says.  "And then as we continue to get advice and we see a decrease in the number of cases then we would go back and we would make some adjustments to those decisions.”

Dixon says they’ll look to the same metric Columbus Public Health has proposed for returning to any in-person instruction: four weeks of declining COVID-19 cases.

And while that's a high bar to clear, Director of Student Activities Vincent Clarno struck an optimistic tone, encouraging players to stay ready.

"They need to stay fresh, they need to stay sharp, and so if things improve we can get back out there," Clarno says. "So, the key really is suspension, it’s not cancellation.”

Since July, athletes have been permitted to take part in limited training and workouts. According to the district, those activities will conclude Friday, August 14, so players and coaches can collect any equipment they might need.

Nick Evans was a reporter at WOSU's 89.7 NPR News. He spent four years in Tallahassee, Florida covering state government before joining the team at WOSU.