On March 11th, as the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, the disease began to upend the lives of people in the United States of America. The virus caused stores, restaurants, and even schools to close completely as cases rose around the country. Sports were canceled. Large events were postponed. Movie and television show productions were stopped. As cases increased throughout the summer, there was little hope for schools to reopen in person, much less for high school sports to continue. There was no clear plan for if there was going to be sports or not, but finally, on July 24th, the decision was made.
For a background of what high school sports traditionally look like, there are usually 3 sports seasons: Fall, beginning in early August, which had sports such as Football and Cross Country, Winter, beginning in late November, which had sports including Basketball and Boys Volleyball, and finally Spring, beginning in early February, which had many sports such as Girls Volleyball and Track and Field. But there was a change for this year’s schedule. Instead of there being 3 seasons, there will only be 2 sports seasons: fall and spring. Specifically, the fall sports season has been pushed back to start in winter of this year, and the winter sports will be pushed back and will share the season with spring sports.
The reason for this change is due to health risks that come when dealing with COVID-19. As of August, COVID-19 cases were too high in the state of California, to have a public sports season as ordered by the Governor of California, Gavin Newsom. Therefore, all high school sports were pushed back and rescheduled to leave time for community transmission of COVID-19 to decrease, but there is still a major roadblock that goes along with this process. If the cases do not go down by the time the “fall” sports season comes around in late November, their sports season will be canceled for next year, meaning there will be no fall sports. This goes the same for the winter/spring sports meaning if there seems to be no decline in COVID-19 cases in the coming months, there will most likely not be any high school sports at all this year.
If there are sports, though, there will be much more caution when playing due to health risks. There will be fewer players on a roster, and practices will have fewer people indoors to ensure there is not a spread of COVID-19. There will be more practices outdoors or in larger areas so everyone can maintain the six-feet distance between each other to stay safe. There will also most likely be no pre-season games or any games/ scrimmages that are outside of the county. Each sport’s season will probably go straight to League which means each team will play other teams in their county league and whoever has the best record after a certain number of games will go to the CIF playoffs to play against other teams who placed highly in their leagues. This type of schedule is still yet to be confirmed but as of now seems to be the most likely solution for the current situation we are experiencing in America due to COVID-19.
As of now, fall sports are being done over Zoom calls, but also there is light conditioning going on for fall sports as introduced on September 21st, meaning that all fall sports can practice and have workouts as a team. Our new athletic director stated, “Conditioning for Fall Sports begins this week! Football, Sideline Cheer, Girls and Boys Water Polo, Girls and Boys Volleyball, and Cross Country. Student-athletes are returning to campus to work out.” with safety precautions in place for everyone to practice without the spread of COVID-19 which is a big step in high school sports.
Although the world may seem grim right now, there is still hope that things could get better, students can go back to school, and high school sports can continue in some form. Until then, we must all keep doing our part in keeping each other safe such as maintaining social distancing, wearing masks, and not gathering in large groups. If everyone does their part, the chances for high school athletes to have some semblance of a normal season will greatly increase.
Photo Creds- Elise Simmons