Bishop Diego High School is hoping to start non-contact conditioning workouts for its football team and other fall sports teams on July 6, provided the school receives approval from the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department.
“We are optimistic that we will be able to return on July 6,” said Aaron Skinner, associate athletic director. “This initial return, also referred to as Phase 1 in the CIF guidelines, will look nothing like normal sport-specific practices, as social distancing will be enforced, no shared equipment will be allowed, and we will only be able to work in pods of 10 or fewer, among other rules.”
The Santa Barbara Unified School District has developed a plan and a checklist for the safe reopening of fall sports athletics at Santa Barbara High, San Marcos and Dos Pueblos.
A potential start date has yet to be determined for athletes to begin conditioning workouts under strict guidelines.
“We are still working through some of the details with district officials,” one athletic director said. “The rise in local cases and hospitalizations for COVID is complicating things.”
There are several schools throughout the state that have received approval from their local health officials and school officials to start football conditioning workouts.
One public school in northern California, Marysville High, started workouts on June 15, and then five days later suspended them after a member of its football staff learned following a dental visit that an earlier patient at the dentist office in Yuba County had tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a story in the Sacramento Bee.
The football staffer went into quarantine and was later tested for the virus. The tests both came up negative.
“Our football kids are frustrated,” coach Jeff Freeman told the Bee. “They want to work out, be together. Parents are frustrated but are understanding. We know this isn’t an easy decision but it’s the right one. We knew that if something occurs, or the possibility of something happening with a positive test, that we have to keep our athletes and their families safe.”
Freeman added: “We try to be as safe as possible, doing everything the right way, including work-station pods and distancing and constant cleansing, and we weren’t sure when our staffer was in contact or was even in contact with the person who was positive, so to be safe, let’s just go ahead and suspend drills for two weeks.
“We also found out that all the people who work at the dental office had tested negative, so that’s a good sign.”
The CIF State office plans to announce on July 20 if the fall sports season will start as scheduled. If it doesn’t due to ongoing public health and safety concerns, the governing body of high school sports is prepared to offer alternative calendars.