Slowly but surely various school districts and private schools have begun allowing conditioning and limited workouts as the restrictions put on by the counties have been relaxed.
The first school in the state to start football workouts was Wheatland Union High. The rural school in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section located 15 miles southeast of Marysville-Yuba City started up on May 27 when it get the go-ahead from Sutter County health officials.
That same day San Mateo Unified High School District Superintendent Kevin Skelly announced that the SMUHSD was going to allow limited workouts with social distancing and strict protocols beginning June 8.
Then late last week Contra Costa County officials gave the green light to let schools start up, and although the SMUHSD was the first to announce it was giving the go-ahead to start on Monday, several Contra Costa County schools, including Concord’s Clayton Valley and De La Salle began conditioning and workouts on June 8 as well.
One coach whose attitude went from chagrin to joy is Rancho Cotate-Rohnert Park head coach Gehrig Hotaling. On Friday morning Hotaling was lamenting about having three Contra Costa County schools on his current schedule in the first four weeks, Las Lomas-Walnut Creek, El Cerrito and Campolindo-Moraga.
The source of his consternation was the fact he and his staff have been unable to start workouts while teams his team will be playing that are all in the CIF North Coast Section like Rancho Cotate, were allowed to start up giving them what he felt was an unfair advantage and could put his players behind the curve compared to those teams.
When we texted Hotaling for a quote after the CIF press release this morning that gave an update on the situation, he informed us the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District had given the go ahead to start up on Monday, June 15.
“We can go Monday but we’re not going to start until Wednesday,” Hotaling said. “We have a lot of legal documents to sort through.”
As for the state CIF, the top officials have concluded a meeting with the 10 section commissioners and while rumors were circulating that some sort of announcement would be forthcoming on June 15 that will not be the case. In fact, that announcement about what will happen to fall sports will come on July 20. The following is from a Friday morning press release from the CIF offices in Sacramento:
The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) believes education-
based athletics and all co-curricular activities are essential to the physical, mental, and social well-being of students and realizes the impact and challenges that COVID-19 has caused for our member schools and education-based athletics.
We continue to monitor the directives and guidelines released from the Governor's Office, the California Department of Education and
State/Local County Health Departments and Agencies as these directives and guidelines are followed by our member schools/school districts when they are planning when and how to reopen school this Fall. As our member schools begin planning for the reopening of school, the CIF, in collaboration with our 10 Sections, will be determining by July 20 if Fall Sports will continue as currently scheduled. The CIF is prepared to offer alternative calendars if it is determined by July 20 that Fall sports may not start as scheduled due to ongoing public health and safety concerns.
In anticipation of our student-athletes return to physical activity, the CIF is providing several resources to assist our member schools and student-athletes while recognizing our obligation to the health and safety of all involved. These new resources outlined generally below are located on the CIF State website (www.cifstate.org):
- CIF Return to Physical Activity/Training Guidelines This document is intended to provide guidance for CIF member schools to consider with their stakeholders in designing return-to-activity protocols in accordance with state and county restrictions. It allows for a coordinated reopening following the initial stay at home orders and may also be used if conditions dictate the need for increased restrictions in the future.
- Physical Examination Waiver In order to address the impact that the COVID-19 virus and school closures have had on students, and in recognition that families may experience delays in obtaining appointments for their student for a Pre-participation Physical Examination, governing boards of school districts and private schools may elect to provide a one-time, temporary waiver of Bylaw 503.G. This waiver will allow the student-athlete to participate in athletics for a maximum of thirty (30) calendar days from their school's first day of practice in that sport. This waiver only applies to CIF sanctioned Fall 2020 sports.
- Financial Hardship Waiver Due to the impact of the COVID-19 virus, and the resulting financial impact on many families, a waiver of Bylaw 207 may be granted for a student who transfers to a new school during the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year when there is a demonstrated and verifiable hardship condition due to financial difficulties.
As we look to the upcoming 2020-2021 school year and sports seasons, our main priority remains everyone's ongoing health and safety during this challenging time.
For Hotaling the news about re-starting was like music to his ears.
“It's been frustrating and very much looking forward to get out with the kids,” Hotaling said. “The frustrating part has been waiting and seeing many of our opponents being able to practice and with us being left on the sidelines. But the frustration is gone and now there is nothing but excitement.”