Michigan high school contact sports ban: What Whitmer said about possibility of resuming

‘We’re watching the numbers very closely,’ Gov. Whitmer says

A basketball hoop.

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was asked Monday about the ban on certain Michigan high school contact sports and whether they might be allowed to resume in the near future.

Right now, only certain sports, including football, are allowed to compete at Michigan high schools. This has become a controversial topic across the state as the governor urges all schools to resume in-person learning by March 1.

READ: 8 takeaways from Gov. Whitmer’s update on COVID-19 in Michigan

“The continuing suspension of winter ‘contact’ sports contradicts the message that it is safe to return to in-person learning,” Detroit schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti wrote in a letter to Whitmer on Monday. “One only needs to ask any winter ‘contact’ sport athlete and they will tell you we are sending mixed and contradictory messages to them.”

Click here to read Vitti’s entire letter.

On Monday, during a COVID-19 briefing, Whitmer was asked about contact sports resuming.

“I was wondering if there’s any way you could set a date certain for contact sports to resume,” a reporter said.

New COVID variant in Michigan: 13 cases in Washtenaw County, 4 cases in Wayne County

Here’s Whitmer’s entire answer on the subject:

“With regard to contact sports, we’re watching the numbers very closely. I think it’s important to point out that, you know, as Dr. (Joneigh) Khaldun talked about, the variant, and the seriousness and the high contagious aspects of this variant.

“It’s important that we keep watching the numbers. I mean, I understand the concern that parents and athletes have, and their desire to reengage, but also point to some events that just happened in the last couple of days, with seeing this variant growing in and around Washtenaw County and around the University of Michigan campus.

“I want to commend the University of Michigan for taking the actions that they did. We think that those are the right steps to keep people safe, and our job is to try to curtail the spread of this new variant in Michigan, and we’ve got to not let our guard down.

“We reengaged restaurants to a certain extent. That will increase the amount of people that are out and about in, and I think it’s important that we stay very focused on where the numbers are before we take additional steps.”

About the Author:

Derick is a Senior Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.