COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Columbus City Schools has postponed winter athletics until Jan. 23. The postponement includes both games and practices.
During a Columbus City School Board meeting Tuesday, Superintendent and CEO Dr. Talisa Dixon said that while she understands other nearby districts are continuing to hold a winter sports season, she said the decision has been tough and knows it will have consequences.
“I see what’s happening with our students in our suburbs and they’re playing and those school districts have decided to take that risk, and they can take that risk, but I’ve asked our organization not to take that risk,” Dixon said.
Columbus Public Health and Franklin County Public Health have extended the current Stay at Home Advisory until January 23, 2021. The Stay at Home Advisory, which began on November 20, was extended due to high COVID-19 case numbers and community spread and coincides with Governor DeWine’s statewide 10 p.m. curfew.
In accordance with the continuation of the Stay at Home Advisory, Columbus City Schools has extended the suspension of all in-person athletic and extracurricular activities until January 23, 2021.
CCS understands that this is a difficult situation for our students who typically participate in winter sports and activities. However, we must rely on the guidance from our public health officials and make decisions that prioritize the health and wellbeing of our students, their families, staff members, and the Columbus community.Columbus City Schools statement
Resuming play on Jan. 23 will only leave the teams two weeks before seeding for the district tournament starts.
City league players and coaches spoke with NBC4 a few weeks ago about not getting to play or practice while other teams in Franklin County and Fairfield County have been able to do both for months.
Dixon said during the meeting she would like to hold a special meeting just on sports sometime next week.
Africentric girls basketball coach William McKinney hasn’t seen his team on the court since November. Now, it’ll be even longer until his squad is back on the floor.
“It’s just really disappointing, it’s disheartening and my heart goes out to the kids and I just feel handcuffed because I’m in the dark about what’s going on just as much as they are,” said Africentric girls basketball coach William McKinney.
One of those players his heart is going out to is senior starting shooting guard Anyiah Murphy.
“It’s kind of depressing, honestly, because for a person like me, I love to be in the gym, I love practicing, I just love hooping, so when I’m not doing that, I don’t have anything else to do,” Murphy said. “It frustrating because I don’t feel like our district is fighting hard enough for us.”
She hopes to play in college next year, but said what’s happening this season is making that prospect more challenging. Adding to Murphy’s frustration, she said, is it’s hard knowing other area districts are on the court when she can’t be.
“I just don’t understand why can’t we practice and other schools are doing it,” she said. “We could follow the same protocols they’re following.”
“I came a long way. Four years and I’m just very irritated and mad,” said Arianna Smith, a senior on the Africentric girls basketball team said in December when the season was first postponed. “Some schools are 15 to 10 minutes away from us and they’re playing but we’re not getting the chance to play.”