St. John’s will keep sports rolling during shutdown

St. John’s Jesuit sent a letter to parents, with plans to continue practicing and playing at off-site facilities.
Published: Dec. 1, 2020 at 5:18 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - When the Lucas County Board of Health issued its newest order sending local students back to remote learning and suspending extracurricular activities last week, it slammed the brakes on brand new seasons for winter students-athletes across the county.

The order closes in-person education and all activities in school facilities from 4 p.m. Friday until January 11, at the earliest. The order nixes both athletic competitions and practices in school facilities, just as the winter sports season was getting underway.

But one Toledo high school appears to have found a way around the order. St. John’s Jesuit sent a letter to parents, with plans to continue practicing and playing at off-site facilities.

“After thoroughly reviewing the order and consulting with our school lawyers, we will be moving all basketball and wrestling practices off-campus, and all game contests will be away during this timeframe,” the letter said.

The letter said all COVID-19 protocols will be in place and enforced. If Lucas County moves to a Level 4 “Purple” on the state map, it will be forced to shut down all athletic activities.

When contacted for comment, a representative from St. John’s declined the opportunity.

“If any student/family does not feel comfortable participating in any activity, they should contact their coach directly,” the letter said. “As always, please remember the health, safety, and well-being of our athletes, coaches, and staff is our number one priority.”

The Titans play in the Three Rivers Athletic Conference, which includes three schools outside of Lucas County: Lima Senior (Allen County), Findlay (Hancock County), and Fremont Ross (Sandusky County). As of right now, none of those counties have similar orders from their individual health departments.

According to the letter, the Titans ice hockey team will continue to practice and play at Tam-O-Shanter in Sylvania, and the swimming and diving team will practice at the University of Toledo, with competitions taking them outside of Lucas County. There was no indication where basketball and wrestling practices will take place.

On their athletic website, the Titans have listed road basketball games against Findlay, Fremont Ross, Lake St. Edward, and Lima Senior still active. Home games and road games against other Lucas County opponents are listed as postponed.

The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department does not approve of St. John’s plan, according to a statement.

“With the statements made (Monday) during the Governor’s Press Conference on the deteriorating conditions at all hospital systems across Ohio and a real possibility of alternate care for emergencies, St. John’s decision to circumvent the Lucas County Board of Health’s Order is both troubling and disappointing. However, other schools have taken a community-first approach and should be commended,” a spokesperson for the health department said via email.

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