More Fulton County communities have decided to pull the plug on summer rec programs due to the COVID-19 pandemic and what it would take to adhere to the social distancing guidelines set forth by the state.
The decision was reached in Archbold at the Village Council meeting on Monday, May 18. It came despite Governor Mike DeWine recently allowing non-contact sports to resume beginning today.
“Please know that this decision was made after very careful consideration and much discussion — with both parents and coaches,” said Jennifer Kidder, Archbold Director of Parks and Recreation in an email sent to parents.
There were many reasons they chose to cancel, but among those was the added cost it would be for parents with sharing of equipment being disallowed — per guidelines issued by the state.
“Typically kids are sharing helmets, bats, catcher’s gear, etc,” stated Kidder. “We would be asking parents to purchase much more than they normally would in a typical year. Bats are expensive, as are helmets. We also were looking at having to purchase at least 10 more sets of catcher’s equipment to be able to allow catchers to have to switch in the middle of games. We didn’t think it was fair to require a coach to be cleaning and sanitizing equipment during a game.”
Another reason was the toll it would take on coaches.
“The learning environment is greatly compromised with the guidelines we have been handed,” said Kidder. “Our coaches are passionate teachers of the game. These guidelines will inhibit their ability to properly teach skills.”
“The added responsibility we must place on coaches is not fair,” she added. “We have great expectations for all of our coaches. Their ability to do their job at practices and games cannot possibly be easy with all of the added requirements we must place on them to be in full compliance with the guidelines.”
Kidder concluded her email to parents by saying that later in the summer if guidelines are eased, they hope to offer some baseball and softball clinics.
Little league baseball and softball have also been canceled in Delta. Their decision stems from Delta Municipal Park — where youth programs are held — remaining closed for the forseeable future.
“For now the official position is until such time as there is an acceptable plan addressing how teams and spectators are to be accommodated, the parks will remain closed,” said Village Administrator Brad Peebles.
Summer recreation t-ball, baseball and softball programs are also canceled within the Evergreen Local School District, as was announced via the Evergreen Youth Association’s Facebook page May 18.
“We had hoped it would not come to this,” read a portion of the post.
The post additionally stated that refunds will be issued by check and sent in the mail to parents. All rec and NWOAL players will be receiving refunds.
Checks that hadn’t been cashed will be returned.
Although non-contact sports are now permitted in Ohio, Wauseon will stick with its decision made earlier this month to cancel their summer programs.
“On May 6th, I made the determination to cancel our summer recreation programs for 2020, as well as competitive sports programs for Biddle Park through June 30, 2020, due to the Governor’s stay-at-home order and the restrictions placed on the city under the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Keith Torbet, Wauseon Director of Public Service in a press release posted to the City of Wauseon Facebook page on Wednesday.
“Since that time, the Governor has allowed non-contact sports (to resume), namely baseball and softball, but under some hefty restrictions. After consulting with the Mayor, our parks and recreation personnel, other area parks and recreation directors, and polling perspective coaches and a number of earlier registered players, I have decided to continue with my decision for the cancellation of organized sports and summer programs through June 30, 2020.
“I do not believe that we would be able to provide a quality program for our youth, under the restrictions placed on the programs,” he added.