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High School Sports Facing New COVID Complications
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Riverbank High School football equipment, like this helmet from last year, may not see any use this year. The region is under a new ‘stay at home’ order, impacting all facets of life, including high school sports. The CIF has put a hold on practices for Season 1 sports. Ric McGinnis/The News

As if things weren’t bad enough already for Riverbank High athletes, they have now seen their ‘fall’ sports season pushed back until early 2021 by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Effective at 11:59 p.m. Sunday evening, Dec. 6 the San Joaquin region was among those required to enact a ‘stay at home’ order that has put proposed practices this month and competition early next year on hold indefinitely.

Last week, just about the time Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the upcoming necessity for the order, the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) issued a notice that put future practices, and games, on hold.

“The CIF does not expect the California Department of Public Health will issue any guidance allowing for schools to return to full practice and competition until after January 1, 2021, at the earliest. Thus, all full practice and competition start dates are officially on hold until updated guidance is issued,” the CIF statement noted.

Practices, like football, were scheduled to begin this past Monday, Dec. 7, with games set to start after the New Year.

Originally, according to the Trans-Valley League proposed schedule, Riverbank was set to play its first scrimmage on Dec. 30, then on the four Fridays of January. The Bruins were set to start the season with a bye on the first week, Feb. 5, and host Modesto Christian on Friday, Feb. 12. Their last game was to be March 19.

The boys and girls volleyball teams were to have similar schedules, as well as co-ed cross country.

All that now appears to be out the window. And the CIF has also moved boys volleyball to the second season next year. They expect to publish an updated season two calendar in January.

The state notice continues, “The CIF is confident this decision is a necessary and reasonable action for our member schools, student-athletes, and school communities in light of the current statewide crisis. 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 department of public health.”

It is unknown whether the two proposed seasons for high school sports might collide next year, if schedules are pushed back any further.

It seems like there is a potential for all the seasons to be held at the same time, which would complicate things for student athletes who normally compete in two or more sports in a school year.