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New State Guidelines Give Hope To RHS Athletes
Football, basketball, softball, baseball, among other sports play may become available to Riverbank High athletes soon, as the state Department of Public Health has issued new guidelines for interscholastic competition for the remainder of the school year.

Riverbank High School coaches and athletes can be hopeful for the resumption of their respective sports soon, following new guidance for the state Department of Public Health.

On Friday, Feb. 19, the CDPH issued its latest list of conditions that are to become effective this Friday, Feb. 26.

Also last Friday, a judge granted a temporary restraining order that allows high school and youth sports to resume in San Diego County “as long as they follow the same or similar COVID-19 protocols imposed for competition in professional and/or collegiate sports within the county.”

Lawyers involved indicated they would expand their suits to be filed in other California counties, as well, so it’s unclear whether or how soon this kind of ruling might affect schools here.

The state’s new standard allows for a resumption of “outdoor high-contact sports” in counties that reach an adjusted daily average of 14 new cases per 100,000 residents. Typically, the state reports its numbers from the previous week and announces any tier changes on Tuesdays; though Stanislaus County was well above – roughly double – the allowable 14 per 100,000 level at last report.

State guidelines say: “Irrespective of setting (outdoor or indoor), case rate or sport played, the following general guidance requirements must be adhered to at all times:

• Face coverings to be worn when not participating in the activity (e.g., on the sidelines).

• Face coverings to be worn by coaches, support staff and observers at all times, and in compliance with the CDPH guidance.

• Observers maintain at least 6 feet from non-household members.

• No sharing of drink bottles and other personal items and equipment.

• Mixing with other households prior to and post any practice or competition must strictly adhere to current gathering guidance.

• Limit indoor sports activities (practice, conditioning) to comply with capacity limits (which shall include all athletes, coaches, and observers) indicated in current guidance.

• Associated indoor activities for the team (e.g., dinners, film study) are prohibited.”

The new guidelines are also proposing controls on the number of observers allowed, limiting observation of youth sports (age 18 years and under) to immediate household members, and for the strict purpose of age appropriate supervision.

“This includes observation of practice and competition.”

The state expects the limit on the number of observers will ensure physical distancing can be maintained, reduce potential crowding, and maintain indoor and outdoor capacity limits.

They’re suggesting that teams consider video streaming of games so that they can be watched “live” at home.

RHS officials have noted that the Trans Valley League has been reorganized to include teams from other leagues so that competition can be held within county borders. This allows teams to compete against those in the same ‘tier’ color.

When sports for local athletes can resume, the state is also implementing a directive termed ‘Informed Consent.

“Due to the nature and risk of transmission while participating in Outdoor High-Contact and Moderate-Contact sports, provide information regarding risk to all parents/guardians of minors participating in such sports, and have each parent sign an informed consent indicating their understanding and acknowledgement of the risks indicated herein.”