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Ferry stops athletictraining

MARTINS FERRY — For the fourth time in five days, a Belmont County school has announced it is suspending its summer sports workouts and conditioning programs due to COVID-19.

Martins Ferry became the latest Wednesday afternoon when the school district released its plan to shut down all extracurricular events and close facilities for no less than two weeks.

Superintendent Jim Fogle confirmed that a Martins Ferry student-athlete had tested positive for coronavirus.

“I think of all of our kids as my own, so their health, safety and well being is my top priority,” Fogle said. “By shutting things down, we’re hopeful that we’re able to slow (COVID-19) down.”

The Purple Riders athletic teams will able to resume conditioning and practicing on July 9.

“That’s when we’re hopeful to resume,” Fogle said. “We’ll keep assessing the situation and we’ll provide updates accordingly to our coaches, athletes and families.”

Along with the Martins Ferry teams that are preparing for upcoming seasons, Fogle also said that the shutdown also includes the softball team, which has been participating in a summer league in Cambridge.

On top of the actual Martins Ferry teams, since the shutdown includes facilities such as the Purple Rider baseball diamond, Fogle and his administrative team notified the summer baseball teams that have been playing on the field of the decision.

Martins Ferry becomes the fourth school in Belmont County to shutter its workouts for the time being. Shadyside was the first last Saturday and Bellaire followed on Sunday. St. Clairsville announced on Tuesday it was putting a halt to activities.

“This was an individual school decision based on our situation,” Fogle said. “This has nothing to do with anyone else.”

Martins Ferry is considering a plan, similar to what Union Local recently announced, in which it would ask any of its student-athletes or coaches who have vacationed outside of Ohio for more than a day to stay away from his or her respective team’s practice for an additional 14 days.

“We’re discussing that and we’ll look into it further to determine the type of guideline we would like to put forth,” Fogle said.

Prior to this shutdown, Fogle had been pleased with how the coaches and athletes had handled the return to play protocols.

“We do all of the assessments and we’ll continue to do those probably until this (virus) is totally gone,” Fogle said. “We haven’t had anything (happen) that would be an alarm to us that someone had the virus.”

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