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CIF Releases Proposed Plan For Return Of School Athletics

Commissioner Michael S. Garrison of the CIF, California Interscholastic Federation, Sac-Joaquin Section, released a statement on Friday, Dec. 18 outlining the hoped for return to athletic competition for schools. However, it isn’t expected to happen until the end of January at the earliest.

Garrison noted that on Dec 14, the California Department of Public Health, CDPH, released its guidelines for return to play for high school sports.

“With these guidelines, our student-athletes and our schools now have a pathway to getting back to the fields and courts of play,” Garrison said. “We know that you all want to get back to play as soon as we can; we do as well, as soon as it is safe and healthy to do so.”

Garrison added that previously, the CIF Sports Medicine Advisory Committee had requested that all sports be allowed in the red (substantial) tier but the CDPH had more restrictive guidelines.

“The CIF will continue to advocate with the CDPH with the hopes for a little more leniency to allow more of our sports to be played,” said Garrison.

Information released by the CIF indicates what sports would be allowed in what tier, as well as proposed dates for CIF Season 1, January through April and CIF Season 2, March through June.

Cheerleading, cross country, field hockey, football, gymnastics, skiing/snowboarding, girls volleyball and water polo are the sports CIF has placed in the revised Season 1.

For Season 2, sports will include badminton, baseball, basketball, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, boys volleyball and wrestling.

Breaking it down further, the Dec. 15 directive from the CIF State Office in Sacramento indicated cross country, golf, skiing/snowboarding, swimming and diving, tennis and track and field would be the allowable sports in the Purple Widespread COVID-19 tier. Substantial Red tier sports allowed will be baseball, field hockey, girls lacrosse and softball. In the Moderate Orange tier, badminton, football, gymnastics, boys lacrosse, soccer, volleyball and water polo are the sports allowed. The Yellow Minimal tier would allow for basketball, cheerleading and wrestling.

Physical conditioning, practice, skill building and training that can be conducted outdoors, with six feet of physical distancing, and within stable team cohorts are currently authorized for all sports, regardless of county tier status, the CIF added. Such activities may also be conducted indoors, consistent with the Gym and Fitness Center Guidance Capacity.

Competition between two teams will not be allowed in California until Jan. 25, 2021 at the earliest. The CIF also indicated an update to the current status is anticipated in early January, with the CDPH expected to re-evaluate the guidelines on or around Jan. 4.

“Everyone in California wants students to be able to return to in-person learning, sports, and all other co-curricular activities that are so important for their physical and mental well-being. As COVID-19 transmission rates are rising significantly in California, communities across the state must continue to take measures to limit the spread of the virus,” CIF Executive Director Ronald W. Nocetti said in a statement from the CIF State Office. “Therefore, we implore ALL Californians to wear a mask, practice social distancing, limit mixing between households, and practice all basic hygiene. This is the way to ensure the best chance for CIF competition to commence by January 25, as allowed by the guidance from the California Department of Public Health. State agencies will continue to monitor epidemiological trends.”