Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Friday called for school sports to halt games for two weeks to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
But the governor’s request was not an order – so the head of the state’s high school sports association says the games will go on as scheduled, unless local districts opt out.
“We’re going to play two days of basketball and really make no changes for the spring,” Mark Uyl, executive director of the Michigan High School Athletic Association said in response to Whitmer, according to the Detroit Free Press.
“We followed the orders – every order – going back to July,” Uyl continued. “Whenever the orders have allowed us to play, we’ve played. So, obviously, local schools will have decisions to make, it could be on a league-wide basis. But once we get through basketball tomorrow night, everything is outdoors.”
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In an interview with Bally Sports Detroit, Uyl said that students participating in spring sports need to undergo a coronavirus test once per week to remain eligible to play, provided they test negative.
All spring sports in Michigan are outdoors. They include baseball and softball, track and field, golf and tennis, the Free Press reported.
The combination of outdoor competition and regular testing of athletes makes the sports association confident that continuing games is a low-risk decision, Uyl told the newspaper.
“Certainly, districts are going to have to make decisions on their local conditions and circumstances,” he added, “but that’s the guidance we’re giving to our schools, literally as we speak and that’s where we’ll be Monday.”
At her news conference Friday in Lansing, the state capital, Whitmer urged schools to hold remote-only classes for two weeks, temporarily halt high school sports and practices, and avoid dining and indoor gatherings as Michigan deals with a resurgence in the spread of the coronavirus.
“We all have to step up our game for the next two weeks to bring down rising cases,” the governor said.
Over the past week, 58 outbreaks of the virus have been traced to Michigan restaurants, according to Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the state’s chief medical executive, FOX 2 of Detroit reported.
“If we can pause some of these activities, temporarily, it will go a long ways to prevent the spread and save lives,” Khaldun said.
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Michigan is the national leader in the number of cases of COVID-19 by population despite increasing vaccinations.
As of Friday afternoon, Michigan recorded 2,218 new cases and was averaging nearly 233 cases and 128 deaths per 100,000 residents over the past week, according to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
The New York Times’ list of top-10 cities where the outbreak is the worst included nine Michigan cities as of Friday afternoon.
Fox News’ Audrey Conklin contributed to this report.
Dom Calicchio is a Senior Editor at FoxNews.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @DomCalicchioFOX