TALLMADGE – Athletes will be heading for the high school to begin training in small groups.
The Tallmadge City School District June 2 said it will begin a phased reopening of its facilities and athletic programs on June 8 in accordance with CDC, OHSAA and Responsible RestartOhio guidelines.
"We know that our athletes and coaches are excited to get back on the field and court. We have to do so in a responsible manner that protects community health and safety," said Superintendent Jeff Ferguson. "Therefore, a set of guidelines has been created which include health screening, social distancing, and hygiene protocols. We are thankful to our families for their help in making sure the restart goes well so that our students can progress."
Tallmadge High School facilities will be open June 8 for student-athletes and coaches to begin training for grades 7-12. Head coaches for all sports teams will be responsible to inform student-athletes and parents of their training schedule. Summer training is not mandatory for student-athletes. Athletes with specific questions should contact their head coach.
The sports will predominately be fall with some winter sports, said Athletic Director Tim Mosher. Those include football and soccer, cross country, girls tennis, golf and volleyball.
All student training will occur on the high school campus, Mosher said. The Tallmadge Middle School will be open to the community to walk or run on the track. The public can use the high school track but only when the athletes aren’t using it.
"We’re trying to eliminate as many people as we can being in close proximity of one another," Mosher said. "The teams can practice three days a week with four-hour time slots."
The combined number of athletes is between 100 and 150 students but the turnout may be smaller because the training is optional and not mandatory, Mosher said.
In Phase 1 the groups are limited to up to 10 people inside and outside of the building. The main gym and Blue Devil Stadium will be used for practice and training.
"We have eight athletes and two coaches maximum," Mosher said.
Phase 2 allows up to 50 individuals outside with social distancing but inside is limited to 10.
Because of the Ohio and Summit County Department of Health rules, phase 2 will likely not begin until July 1, he said.
Phase 3 allows 50 individuals inside and outside, but the Summit County Department of Health hasn’t approved it yet, Mosher said. It reduces social distancing to 3 feet, which would allow modified practice for football and soccer.
If the department of health won’t allow Phase 3, the athletes would remain in Phase 2, he said.
The coaches and kids are excited to get back into some type of routine and normalcy, Mosher said. Practice provides direction, structure and the ability to interact.
"There’s a lot to say for that," he said. "We’re not meant to live in isolation. Who we are is built on the community we belong to and belonging to it. We can provide some normalcy to coaches and athletes."
The school plans to do everything the right way and safe way to protect the athletes, he said. To enter practice, athletes must wear a face mask and bring their own water, preferably 64 ounces.
There will be no locker room so athletes need to come dressed for practice. The bathrooms will be available and are modern with minimal touching and heavily cleaned.
More information, including the Tallmadge Athletic Department Summer 2020 Training Guidelines, the required educational material, and the athlete sign-off form, is available at http://www.tallmadgeathletics.org. All athletes and parents/guardians are required to review the guidelines, educational material, and complete the sign-off form before participation in summer training can begin. Coaches are required to complete training as well to promote a safe return for all athletic programs.
Outdoor facilities are open to community members when not in use by Tallmadge City School athletic teams. Community use guidelines are posted at each outdoor facility. Any non-school/outside organization that plans to use an outdoor facility for organized practices or competition must contact the Tallmadge Athletic Department before a practice or competition can occur.
Tallmadge athletics will not be hosting youth camps or working in conjunction with youth camps operated by another organization through Dec. 31. Tallmadge athletics will not be traveling to team camps through Dec. 31.
Tallmadge City Schools’ indoor facilities will remain closed to non-school/outside organizations through at least Dec. 31.
For more information about the Tallmadge City School District, visit www.tallmadgeschools.org.
Gannett reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at email@example.com