On Friday, Feb. 19, following weeks of ongoing discussions between the California Department of Public Health and CIF and coaching advocacy groups, the Governor announced the state’s updated regulations and rules for youth and high school sports. On Feb. 26, the following sports will be cleared to resume play, but with restrictions: Football, Baseball, Lacrosse, Soccer, and Softball. These sports will be allowed to play only if Covid case rates stay below 14/100,000 in their respective counties. Some of the significant stipulations and rules from last Friday’s announcements for the California State Health department include: “Outdoor, moderate-contact sports, such as baseball, cheerleading, and softball, can be played in these countries without the testing requirement. While participating in these sports, teams must provide information regarding risk to all parents/guardians of minors participating, and each parent shall sign an informed consent indicating their understanding and acknowledgment of the risks.” Those counties that fall to less restrictive tiers are still encouraged to follow and covid guidelines, including wearing masks, social distancing, and keeping high health standards. While the numbers continue to improve, we are still not out of the woods yet.
However, for those hoping that Coronado Sports could return as soon as next week, the way will have to continue for at least a little longer, and San Diego counties case rate still sits at 15.6/100,000 at press time. Just a mere 1.6 off the new State guidelines.
“For the immediate future, the situation/state of sports will stay the same for Coronado Sports,” said Coronado Athletic Director Robin Nixon. “We will still need the county to drop below that 14/100,000 threshold before more sports can return to normal practices and games.”
But while the state health department’s announcement doesn’t have much effect on Coronado Sports in the short term, according to Nixon, “Long term this gives many more Islander sports the opportunity to have a season. Which considering where we were just over a month ago is rather remarkable and shows that we are heading in the right direction.”
According to Nixon, even though no new sports were officially cleared for Coronado, ISF and the district will be prepared when that time comes. Sports like baseball and softball already have season schedules created and in place, so when San Diego county is cleared, Islander Sports can go off without a hitch.
In regards to registrations Nixon and ISF has to hold off until they can distribute Covid-19 waiver. “We’re waiting on forms for high contact sports that will need to be filled out. It will just be easier to make registration available when we have every form available to parents and players.”
Perhaps the biggest winner among California and Coronado sports Is football. With over 90,000 prep football players in the state, by far the most of any sport, a season looked doomed due to so many setbacks, now seems poised to have some semblance of a season. Nixon said, “If and when football can resume, it’s most likely Islander football would have 4 to 5 games this season. They would have a couple of weeks to practice and condition before they would go into games. All games would be in league games.”
It is not difficult to see that the under 14/100,000 standard will be much easier to meet than the original/current state tier system due to case rates dropping rapidly state-wide. Another keynote from the Public Health Department was that weekly testing would be mandatory for those athletes whose sports return. According to California State Health Departments and the Governors office, those tests will be paid for by the State of California. While Friday’s announcement was a substantial step forward for many sports, there are still those who have question marks surrounding their season, most notably indoor sports such as Basketball and Volleyball who still need to see an even more significant drop in case rates before they will be allowed to return to practice and play this season.
According to the CIF Press release: “Indoor sports are not included in the guidance. Basketball and Volleyball will need for the rates to go down significantly, but there is still time, perhaps in the final two months of school.”
It’s clear that more Islander sports are on the Horizon. The question is no longer if they’ll return, but when they return.
Just hold out a little bit longer, Islanders, because we’re almost back.