As the fall sports season inches closer, the Ohio High School Athletic Association was able to take a step forward toward a possible season.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced last Thursday that contact sports can now have contact practices.

As a result, the OHSAA sent out a memo to member schools updating what is now allowed as school teams continue to work their way back to competition.

Monday marked the beginning of Phase 2 — training for contact sports such as football, soccer, basketball and volleyball. Schools can now have open gyms/open fields/workouts/and training for those sports.

Contact sports were allowed to have skill training starting on May 26, which is no known as ‘Phase 1’. But teams have been limited to what they could do during those training sessions.

Teams can now scrimmage against each other whether it’s in open gyms or football teams running pass plays against a defense. Scrimmages, however, are not permitted against different schools or communities in these contact sports.

Low or non-contact sports such as baseball and softball have been able to compete against different teams in games since May 26.

Other items included in the OHSAA memo to schools were:

— Daily assessments of participants must still occur as previously required.

— “Spectators” (parents, others) are permitted but must follow restrictions that include social distancing.

— While there is no restriction on the number permitted to attend Open Gyms/Fields/Facilities, any individuals not participating in intra-team play or skill sessions must remain socially distanced.

— Athletic Trainers have restrictions identified that include wearing facemasks when treating an individual.

— Skill Training identified from May 26 may still occur.

— There is no requirement that any school must begin Phase 2 on June 22. It is merely permitted to begin on June 22.

— Since the OHSAA’s “10-Day Rule” has been waived for the summer of 2020, there is no limit to the number of days in which coaches/schools may conduct open gyms/open fields/workouts/training.

— Local Health Departments continue to be given control/oversight of schools and facilities within their jurisdiction. They retain the right to restrict permissions in Phase 2.

The OHSAA also noted that a ‘Phase 3’ would be the next logical step toward the process, but that there is no indication as to when that would occur.

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Kevin Wiseman is the Messenger Sports Editor

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

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