As 2020 draws to a close, hopeful student-athletes are looking forward to a possible return to team-based athletics in the new year.
After originally being scheduled for a Dec. 14 return, the California Interscholastic Federation received announcement from the California Department of Public Health on moving forward. While inter-team competition can commence as of Jan. 25, the CDPH said they will reassess returning-to-competition on Jan. 4, 2021.
“There’s no formal team sports in California at this time,” cross-country coach Michael Buckley said. “The governing body for high school athletics in California has suspended its seasons until January. So there’s no official team sports or competitions right now.”
The CIF also canceled state and regional championships for all Season 1 sports, which were supposed to take place during the fall, after the recent spike of COVID-19 in California.
“This revision to the CIF State 2020-21 Season 1 sports calendar offers our sections and leagues the flexibility and needed time to plan for the return to practice and competition once updated guidance is provided by the CDPH,” the CIF wrote in a press release.
While the possibility of some school-sanctioned sports returning earlier than others remains, so does students’ ability to organize their own practices. This behavior, however, is discouraged.
“As our state and country are continuing to deal with the current public health crisis, we need to be cognizant about best practices to slow the spread of the virus,” Dana Kuwahara, Head of Athletics & Physical Education, wrote in an email to the school. “We want to encourage you to stay active but please do so safely and within our county rules.”
Teams caught practicing outside of school prior to a lift in CDPH restrictions could lose eligibility for future seasons, according to Kuwahara. Students, however, are not without options.
“We’re able to offer some athletic classes and athletic experiences that are outside of the realm of team sports, in accordance with the public health requirements,” Buckely said.
The school is offering strength and conditioning workouts with coach Barclay Spring on the Broadway Campus as well as cardio-based, running-oriented workouts with Buckley at the Marina Green.
“If public health measures are effective, the wave of COVID-19 infections recedes, and the vaccination starts to taper down transmission, then maybe more normal athletic activities would be possible,” Buckley said.