Story by Sam Grotenstein
Photo courtesy of SPHS Athletics Department
SPHS Athletic Director Anthony Chan introduced the athletics plan for the 2020-2021 school year at a school board meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 13. The plan outlines the precautions that will be taken to ensure the safety of athletes and staff, as well as the sports that will begin practice this winter.
The current plan is constructed to meet L.A. County’s public health orders, while also allowing athletes ample time and space to hold regular practices. The upcoming winter season, which is set to start on Monday, Nov. 2, will see cross country, football, volleyball, and water polo returning for socially distant conditioning, followed by the start to team practices in mid-December.
The proposed practices are set to consist of groups of no more than 12 athletes and two coaches. Both athletes and coaches are expected to maintain six to eight feet of distance and wear face coverings at all times. Furthermore, the current plan advises athletes who feel even slightly ill to notify their coaches and not attend practice.
The plan will be enforced by the SPHS athletics department, along with the assisted aid of individual coaches. Not only will safety protocols be strictly enforced, but athletes are expected to confine their practice to a small, predetermined area, and are only expected to use one set of entrances and exits.
The plan received unanimous support from the school board, and will be set in place for 2020-2021 school year.
“I really like the proposed plan,” Board Member Dr. Suzie Abajian said, “I feel like the social distancing and safety measures taken for practices are very thorough. Between the temperature checks before practices and the small number of athletes at any given practice, I really feel like we are following every recommendation.”
Despite the safety precautions outlined in the plan, Chan and the school board agreed that it is still unlikely that official league matchups will occur this season.
The athletics department has yet to make a final decision on the start date for official tryouts and the spring season.
“I think the only thing we can do right now is to start practicing for the first season and see how things go,” Chan said. “We’re still unsure as to exactly when practices for season two will begin, but again it’s heavily dependent on how season one goes.”
While many remain enthusiastic over the implementation of this new athletic plan, parents and student athletes have raised concerns over the thoroughness of the safer protocols.
“I’m excited for sports to come back,” sophomore student athlete Dillon Stafford said, “[But] I’m still on edge. The situation with COVID hasn’t gotten much better, and it feels like the board is just pushing for the start of the athletic season as soon as possible just for the sake of student and parent concerns. While I appreciate the effort, I’m still very skeptical.”