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The California high school fall sports season remains up in the air — its fate still more than a month from being decided.
The California Interscholastic Federation, the state's governing body for high school sports, announced Friday morning in a press release that July 20 is its cut-off date to determine if the season will be altered.
"As our member schools begin planning for the reopening of school," part of the release read, "the CIF, in collaboration with our 10 sections, will be determining by July 20 if fall sports will continue as currently scheduled."
The CIF finished off a three-day teleconference meeting Thursday with the state's 10 commissioners to discuss the precarious plans for the fall in wake of the coronavirus pandemic which forced the historic cancellations of the state basketball championships in March and the entire spring calendar in May and June.
After almost three months of lockdown and shelter-in-place mandates nationwide, fall athletes and coaches were hoping for clarity or a commitment for the next season, which includes football, girls volleyball, water polo, cross country, girls golf and soccer. Some schools have recently begun limited workouts as their communities progressed in the state's re-opening guidelines, but they remain far more limited than normal summer preparation.
With so many different directives from state governing, health and education agencies, plus schools not clear when campuses will even open, the CIF offered all it could — a 10-page guideline to a possible return to physical activity and training — in its release.
The guidelines include language on facilities cleaning, entrance/exit strategies, hygiene practices, travel and face coverings. It also offers sport-specific language that, for football, includes not sharing balls or tackling dummies/sleds.
It also added two new special waivers for the fall season, one dealing with physical exams and the other financial hardship.
The CIF state office runs regional and state championship events, while the individual section handle postseason and the local leagues are responsible for preseason and league contests. A calendar of its fall championships is here
. If the regular season is pushed back, the postseason could be altered or canceled. All remains speculative at this point.
The complete release:
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 returning 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):
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 Preparticipation 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.