The California Interscholastic Federation released its guidelines on June 12 for reopening sports and noted that its guidelines are to be used primarily as a tool for when schools reopen and that school districts should look to the state and county for guidance as to when they can safely reopen sports.
In their guidelines, however, they could only recommend that cross country, track and field, swimming, golf, tennis and badminton open up to a certain point, and that close-contact sports be limited to conditioning and no sharing of equipment as long as social distancing requirements remain in effect.
The close contact sports it mentions include volleyball, soccer, baseball, softball, football, wrestling, competitive cheerleading, basketball and water polo.
The CIF announced two phases for the six sports that have low contact, which are separate from the county and state phases for reopening; the two phases involve participating in workouts and modified team practices and seem to allow for games as long as there is no contact with the other team. Phases two specifically mentions that teams should have no contact with other teams and that local county guidelines must be followed.
A few examples of the CIF’s recommendations for close contact sports include football, where students would be limited to “conditioning and individual drills” and balls cannot be touched by more than one person and contact between teammates would not be allowed, as well as sharing equipment.
Competitive cheerleading would be limited to individual technique and choreography work with students not being allowed to practice or perform stunts with anyone.
In basketball, students would practice individual ball drills with no sharing of a ball, and teammates wouldn’t be able to pass balls to one another.
Among sports that would be able to be played, such as golf, students are asked to maintain social distancing; tennis would be allowed as long as no balls were shared, players used their own can of balls with which to serve and players used their racket to pass other balls during singles matches.
The guidelines are similar to those released by the NFHS; one difference is the implementation of a pre-participation exam waiver by the CIF for the purpose of easing the workload for families due to the impact of COVID-19 and school closures. Students can obtain a waiver that will allow them to compete for up to 30 days after the first day of practice in their fall sport. The waiver is only valid if the student completed a pre-participation physical exam during the 2019-20 school year. Incoming transfer students can request a waiver if they have a copy of their 2019-20 pre-participation physical exam, and a freshman athlete can request a waiver if they have a 2019-20 pre-participation physical exam copy or proof of a Well Child Check. After the 30 days, students will have to submit a 2020-21 pre-participation physical exam if they want to keep competing.
In order to obtain a temporary waiver, a parent or guardian plus the student needs to complete, sign and submit the 503.G Waiver and Release of Liability form. Students will also need to submit a student health screening form. Both documents will be available on www.cifstate.org within the next few weeks, according to the CIF.
– Kerensa Uyeta-Buckley