Story by Zoe Schlaak
Photo by Ella Jayasekera
The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) announced guidelines to help athletic programs resume preseason training on Friday, June 12. CIF issued Phase One and Phase Two recommendations for 17 sports, which encompass all SPHS athletics, in accordance with advice from departments of public health.
L.A. County has completed the first two phases, which included strict stay at home orders as well as essential and low risk workplaces opening up. The county is currently transitioning through Phase Three. However, CIF has not instructed schools on how to move forward in this phase.
Phase Two recommends regular cleaning schedules for all athletic facilities. Surfaces — such as chairs, weight room equipment, and bathrooms — are to be wiped down before and after use. CIF advises schools to provide hand sanitizer to all individuals throughout the day and prohibit gatherings of over 10 people at entrances and exits.
All athletes and staff should undergo daily screenings for coronavirus symptoms; this information will be recorded and stored as needed. Individuals should properly wash and sanitize their hands before participating in any workouts. Due to the closure of locker room facilities, students and faculty are encouraged to bathe and wash clothing immediately upon arrival at home.
All staff and a majority of sports should use face coverings while following local guidelines. Athletes participating in swimming, distance running, and other high intensity aerobic activities are exempt from coverings. Coaches and officials are also encouraged to wear cloth face coverings at all times and replace traditional whistles with artificial noisemakers, while also maintaining social distancing. In addition, sports teams are advised to compete locally and avoid statewide travel.
Athletic programs should provide physical and mental health resources to aid the transition back into sports. CIF encourages programs to ease training intensity and duration as athletes regain their fitness. Since the interruption to athletic programs, transition periods are mandatory to prevent injuries among athletes. The mental health of students and staff should also be assessed by incorporating on-campus support such as counselors and wellness centers.
The federation also addressed the impact closures will have with athletes acquiring Preparticipation Physical Exams. School district boards are allotted a one-time waiver that allows 2020 CIF fall sports athletes to participate in a maximum of 30 days of practice before requiring a clearance form. The waiver applies to students who have a 2019-2020 Preparticipation Physical Exam previously on file. Also, it is advised that a Health Screening form must be submitted to the school administration in order for athletes to participate.
CIF will announce whether the fall sports season will continue as scheduled on Monday, July 20. It will also provide additional information when it becomes available to them by state and local officials.