Dear Southwestern Athletic Conference Athletes and Families,
As you know, we continue to experience considerable COVID-19 spread throughout the state and local region. At this time, Lorain County is designated as Level 4 (Purple) and Cuyahoga County is at a Level 3*. As previously stated, the goal of the Southwestern Conference is to allow our student-athletes to compete safely and fully against conference opponents during the winter athletic season. In consultation with local health officials, it is our intent to restart the winter sports season on December 14, 2020. We believe this temporary “pause” gives our student-athletes the best opportunity for a complete and successful season.
What is being paused and what is not being paused?
- All SWC 7th through 12th grade athletics and all youth programs that are under the auspices of an SWC school district.
- No school sponsored youth teams (pre-7th grade) should be traveling nor using SWC School District facilities for competition.
- According to the Lorain County Health Commissioner, pausing all sports was the best course of action due to teams from all sports having to quarantine.
- SWC School Districts acknowledge that youth teams associated with private organizations may still choose to hold competitions.
- Families should be aware that there are teams from communities that reside in the SWC that are not officially affiliated with a school district that may choose to compete. While we believe those teams should also pause competition, districts do not have jurisdiction and decision making authority over them.
Why is this continued pause necessary?
- Our conference priority is to play a full SWC schedule.
- The SWC has relied on the guidance and experience of the Lorain County Health Commissioner when it comes to decision making about athletics. He has advised local superintendents that the best course of action at this time is to continue to pause athletics until December 14, due to an increase in community spread in Lorain and Cuyahoga County.
- An increase in community spread could lead to the mass quarantining of student-athletes due to the nature of contact tracing for them. Unlike a school building where structures like social distancing and facial coverings exist, student-athletes do not wear masks when competing. In addition, unlike fall sports, all winter sports occur indoors where the likelihood of spread is higher.
- Pausing allows teams who are currently under quarantine the opportunity to participate in the league moving forward.
- To date, 7 school SWC districts (Amherst, Avon, Avon Lake, Midview, North Olmsted, North Ridgeville and Olmsted Falls) have had to quarantine teams from multiple sports. Those sports include: hockey (2 teams), bowling (1 team), girls basketball (7 teams), boys basketball (7 teams), gymnastics (2 teams), and wrestling (1 team).
What is the plan moving forward?
- The SWC Athletic Directors have been asked to recalibrate the conference schedule in order to plan for as much of a full season as possible for the remainder of the regular season.
- SWC competitions will be prioritized over any non-conference games that may be on schedules.
- Please contact your local Athletic Department and team coaches for guidance on practice schedules and safety protocols.
In closing, parents and student-athletes should know that the goal of everyone is to have our student-athletes safely back in competition as soon as possible. We recognize that there is a considerable amount of time and effort put into the off-season and in many cases, athletes have been preparing for competition for quite some time. We remain optimistic and hopeful that we will have a Winter Sports season.
Southwestern Conference Commissioner
Southwestern Conference Superintendents:
Steve Sayers – Amherst
Mike Laub – Avon
Bob Scott – Avon Lake
Tracy Wheeler – Berea-Midpark
Dr. Bruce Willingham – Midview
Roxann Ramsey-Caserio – North Ridgeville
Dr. Mike Zalar – North Olmsted
Dr. Jim Lloyd – Olmsted Falls
Dr. Scott Goggin – Westlake