Bishop Diego’s football team started summer conditioning workouts on campus Monday, marking the first time the coaching staff have met with the players in person since the COVID-19 shutdown in mid-March.
“It will be great just to see the guys in person and be with them,” head coach Tom Crawford said before Monday’s workout. “I know our players are excited to be with each other, too. As like probably most of us, they’ve had their fill of Zooms.”
The team had been doing virtual workouts, meetings and film sessions via Zoom teleconferences before its CIF-mandated dead period.
Crawford said the on-the-field workouts will follow the recommendations from the National Federation of High Schools and adhere to the CIF State Phase 1 reopening plan and Santa Barbara County Public Health Department requirements.
“There won’t be guys playing catch, exchanging footballs, hitting sleds, etcetera, in this first phase, nor will there be any full team activities or gatherings,” Crawford said. “Instead, players have been assigned to pods of 10 or less and will work with that pod for a week or more with a single coach assigned to supervise them. In fact, social distancing within pods will also be required in phase 1. Work ‘stations’ will be set up to make that happen on the field, using grids and cones.”
Bishop removed some equipment in its weight room to allow for social distancing indoors as well.
“We intend on having the pods distant from one another and, on most days, will have a rotation of pods between weight work and field work, with breaks to allow cleaning of any equipment before use by another player,” Crawford explained.
He admitted the modified workouts will be challenging for the coaching staff and the players, and will require patience from both.
While the status of a traditional high school fall sports season remains unclear, Crawford said the opportunity to work with the team on the field is a “step in the right direction and an opportunity to reconnect and make sure everyone is okay.”
The CIF State office is expected to announce on July 20 if the fall sports season will start as scheduled.
Bishop Diego is the first school on the South Coast to hold phase 1 workouts for football. St. Joseph in Santa Maria started June 22 but halted its workouts last week after the state and the Santa Barbara County Health Department announced the spike in COVID-19 cases.
The rise in cases also led the Lompoc Unified School District (Lompoc and Cabrillo high schools) and the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District (Santa Maria High, Righetti and Pioneer Valley) to postpone a July 6 start of conditioning workouts. Neither district has determined new start dates.
Santa Barbara High, San Marcos and Dos Pueblos of the Santa Barbara Unified School District and Carpinteria High have yet to announce start dates for their fall sports teams to begin workouts.
In addition to football, Bishop Diego’s cheer squad started workouts Monday.
Crawford said Bishop Diego has been in contact with the county Health Department to make sure it is safe to conduct workouts.
“We obviously have been in communication with County Health and have been given the go-ahead, but realize the Covid situation is fluid,” he said. “We will obviously follow any direction from the county and state regarding holding of workouts.”