Many high school teams continue modified workouts despite restrictions, uncertain future

Many high school athletics programs in Southland continue to have conditioning and skills training courses that follow tighter restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, while there is growing uncertainty about the fall season scheduled to begin.

About 50 schools in the LA Unified School District, officials said, are holding the sessions in Los Angeles County, where a three-week house arrest began Monday, Nov. 30, over the increase in coronavirus cases.

“All schools and day camps will remain open and adhere to reopening protocols,” LA County ordered.

Barbara Jones, LAUSD educator, said on Monday that conditioning for student athletes is covered by the protocols.

The provincial order, which runs until December 20, advises residents to stay at home as much as possible, wear a mask when they are outside and not to gather with people from another household.

In Orange County, conditioning and skills training courses continue in the Anaheim Union High School District. However, the sports of basketball and volleyball have moved out since the county fell to the purple low (widespread coronavirus risk), district athletics director Mitch Olson said.

‘We can use a ball. We can use certain equipment while we are outside, ”said Olson, who is also the football coach at Loara. “Once we turned purple we took a step back and stopped all indoor activities.”

In Riverside and San Bernardino counties, schools are continuing their custom training, said Jim Vaughan, assistant principal in charge of athletics at Riverside Poly.

“We’ve never been able to get in at this point,” said Vaughan, elected president of the Citrus Belt Area Athletic Directors Association. “It’s hard, but (the kids) are doing it.”

Schools across Southland are waiting for updated guidelines from state health officials to allow for competition. Gavin Newsom said on Nov. 16 that the release of the high school and youth sports guidelines has been interrupted due to the recent rise in COVID-19 numbers.

As of Aug. 3, teams have been limited to conditioning, according to guidelines from the California Department of Public Health.

In the southern section, athletics will start as early as December 10 for football teams who want to train for three days before they can be in the pads on December 14, the first day of training. The LA City Section also has training scheduled to begin on Dec. 14.

Football games across the state are scheduled for January 7-8.

“I imagine that’s a tough hill to climb,” said Vaughan of the fall season starting on time.

Assistant Commissioner and Southern Section spokesman Thom Simmons said Monday that the decision to return will ultimately lie with the state, county and local health officials.

“Give the kids hope,” said Olson. “If nothing comes out of the governor’s office that’s different from what is now, I think the next move from CIF would be, ‘OK, we’re going to shoot for competition (games)’ and see if things get better by the middle of January. ”