With COVID-19 cases on the rise, Chagrin Falls schools put the basketball and wrestling seasons for grades seven through 12 on pause until January.

Superintendent Robert Hunt made the recommendation to allow the teams to continue with practicing during the virtual Chagrin Falls Board of Education meeting Nov. 18, but the teams will not compete or scrimmage with other schools.

Dr. Hunt said the Ohio High School Athletic Association rolled out a survey earlier this month to gauge school preferences for winter sports with the increase in cases of the novel coronavirus and the impact it has on hospital capacities. The OHSAA came out the afternoon prior to the board meeting that it would be moving forward with the winter season, but participation would be up to the school districts.

“I think with what we’re seeing with spread and our ultimate goal of focusing on keeping kids in school as long as possible, my recommendation is to pause 7-12 basketball and wresting at this point from now until January from competition,” Dr. Hunt said. “[We will] continue to allow them to practice internally with our cohort but not compete [or] travel around to different arenas.”

Board member Kathryn Garvey asked Dr. Hunt how the district would handle extracurriculars and athletics in the event the schools switched to a virtual model.

Dr. Hunt said districts can handle this decision at the local level and choose whether they want to continue competing, practicing or put completely on pause. “That’s a total local decision,” he said, confirming that in the event the entire district had to “pivot” to an all-virtual model, he would include more information on athletics and other extracurriculars in an announcement.

Dr. Hunt said the district had a successful fall season so far in terms of competing and COVID-19 cases, noting that they started in an environment “set up for them to be successful” with case counts much lower than current numbers.

“With the current environment, I think our winter sports are coming in the midst of everything escalating, and pressing pause now gives them a better chance in January moving forward to have a season,” he said.

He added that the district tried to get their league to come to a consensus on a recommendation to pause basketball and wrestling competition, but “there [were] not enough votes to support everyone pausing.

“We have been in conversation with other local schools who are pausing as well in a similar fashion,” he continued. “We want to continue on with our league in January if it makes sense and schedule with them, but if for some reason those teams weren’t interested in that, we do have a cohort of teams that we can play and participate against and schedule competitions with.”

Sam joined the Times in 2019 and covers several communities and schools in the Chagrin Valley and Geauga County. She also oversees the features/community events and the website. She earned her bachelor's degree in journalism from Kent State University.

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