DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Dayton Public Schools (DPS) has decided all athletics programs will return to competition Tuesday, even as remote learning continues.
Every sport that can field a team will return this week. On Monday coaches will report to the district how many players they expect to participate, so next week even more teams could take the fields and courts.
“We are very happy at this point that we can actually offer some opportunities for sports to resume,” said DPS Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Lolli.
After closely analyzing coronavirus data in specific zip codes, DPS concluded the district’s school-age students are not responsible for case increases. Dr. Lolli hopes athletics will lead the district back to in-person learning.
“We’re actually depending on athletics to guide us to opening up some more experiences for students that are actually face-to-face. If we can do this well with athletics, hopefully we’re going to be able to get our students back in, in very small groups working with teachers,” said Lolli.
Students will go through symptom and temperature checks every day, hoping to catch any cases before they spread at practices or games. The protocol for fans is still being worked out, but a limited number of tickets will be sold, masks and social distancing will be required, and concession stands will be closed.
“We’ll be making sure to monitor groups. We won’t allow groups of students to cluster together, groups of parents to cluster together, that sort of thing,” said Lolli.
If a player or coach does test positive, DPS will shut down the team for two weeks, canceling practices and games. But if several teams test positive at once, the district will re-evaluate its plans.
“I’m really hopeful that because of the very strict guidance and direction the executive director of athletics has put in place that we won’t have to worry about any of those things,” said Lolli.
On the academic side, Dr. Lolli says remote learning is going well right now, with some expected blips. She says attendance is -and always has been- an issue, but student engagement teams are going to students’ homes to make sure they attend virtual classes.
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