Woodridge Board of Education allows contact sports to move forward

Vote occurs after governor issues decision earlier in the day

Woodridge Local School District Superintendent Walter Davis speaks during a special board of education meeting earlier in August. The board on Tuesday voted in favor of moving forward with contact sports this fall.

CUYAHOGA FALLS — Contact sports at Woodridge High School will move forward as scheduled.

The Woodridge Local School District Board of Education on Tuesday unanimously backed a motion to move forward with its contact sports — football and soccer — this fall. The vote came after Gov. Mike DeWine announced earlier in the day that high school contact sports in the state can move ahead with scrimmages and games during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Woodridge Superintendent Walter Davis noted that DeWine’s announcement conflicted with Summit County Public Health’s recommendation that contact sports not start competition until at least Oct. 1. 

Davis said he wanted the board’s guidance on whether the district should move forward with contact sports.

“Unless [the board tells] me otherwise, my plan was to follow the state guidance to allow those contact sports to begin,” added Davis.

Board members noted that students have practiced with their teams for more than a month and added they felt the athletes’ participation showed that parents trusted how coaches were handling the challenging situation.

Davis acknowledged there have been “a couple hiccups here and there, but we’ve made corrections … we’re monitoring, we’re spot checking.”

He added, athletic director Nick Mayer and district treasurer Tom Morehouse have checked in on practices.

Board member Dave Lydic said coaches have been “very diligent” about enforcing sanitizing and distancing protocols during practices.

“The kids just really need this,” added board member Tammy Heffernan.

Davis added it was important for district leaders to review the state’s guidance on contact sports, including how they would handle spectator attendance.

With attendance expected to be limited at competitions, Davis said the district will be livestreaming its games on YouTube.

“It’s an awesome benefit,” said board President Jeff McHugh about being able to see videos of the contests.

Some of Woodridge’s non-contact sports teams such as golf and tennis have already started competition against other schools.

Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, pkeren@recordpub.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.