Dear Orange Families,
On July 30th, we announced that we would be following the Cuyahoga County Board of Health (CCBH) recommendation to begin school remotely, as well as suspending sports and extracurricular activities. Likewise, we had put a hold on the Orange Community Education and Recreation (OCER) Lions Club and extended care childcare. In the days since then, there have been numerous requests for reconsideration of these decisions.
Considering OCER, we reopened in July with over 400 participants cycling through our summer camp programming throughout the month. These camps were successful with zero COVID-19 incidents. Childcare cannot be delivered virtually, and our families depend on OCER to get back to work, especially with school being fully remote. Upon asking CCBH to weigh in on offering Lions Club and extended care, their response was simply for us to do so, assuming we can meet the requirements under state guidance for childcare programs. Therefore, considering the successful summer programs and the CCBH response, we will resume the OCER plans for offering childcare this fall. OCER will be reaching out with registration information.
Likewise, summer sports workouts continued on campus with over 200 student athletes advancing through the three phases established by the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA), also without a COVID-19 incident. Furthermore, many students and families have expressed the need for these programs. Unlike schooling which consists of a couple of thousand students and hundreds of adults interacting within the confines of classrooms and hallways, these activities will consist of a small subset of participants, with the bulk of time spent outside, a much less likely place for transmission of COVID-19. Therefore, after consulting with our Athletic Director, considering guidance from the Ohio Department of Health and the OHSAA, and listening to input from parents, I have decided to resume Orange High School fall sports and related extracurricular activities, including band and Lionettes.
We will continue to require that our coaches, staff and students/athletes adhere to the safety protocols that were well established this past summer. The coaches and advisors will reach out to the students this week. Subsequently, details for phases of practice and workouts, as well as competition, if applicable, will be communicated to families by our Athletic Director Katie Hine on Friday, August 14th. The plan is to resume in-person activity on Monday, August 17th. Middle school families will be contacted soon, and winter/spring athletes and coaches will receive more information about resuming off-season workouts in the near future. We will move forward taking it one step at a time, monitoring program success and the health and wellbeing of our students and staff.
Finally, it is important that we stress that participation in sports and related extracurricular activities is voluntary. Students are not to be pressured to participate, and no negative consequences should befall them if they choose to not participate. In the event a shutdown is ordered, I am hopeful that these programs can continue remotely, keeping our kids engaged and Lion Strong!