WEB EXCLUSIVE The California Department of Public Health released new sports guidelines on Feb. 19 allowing youth sports to practice and compete effective on Feb. 26 in several counties including San Francisco.
“I think that friendly competition against other schools is a key component in the importance of sports,” senior Tara Boyd said. “Games against other schools are important because it helps the team utilize all of the skills they have been working on.”
In comparison to athletic practice rules released earlier this year, the new guidelines allow athletes to compete against one team at a time. Competitions with multiple teams are not permitted currently.
“According to the San Francisco County, we are allowed to compete in sports that fall under the Purple Tier,” Dana Kuwahara, Head of Athletics & Physical Education said. “We are able to have inter-team competitions starting this week with low contact sports like golf, cross-country and tennis.”
California previously established a color-coded tier system based on a county’s test positivity and adjusted case rate and outlined which sports are allowed to play in each tier. Outdoor high-contact sports that fall in the Orange Tier are now permitted to play in the Red and Purple Tiers with an adjusted case rate equal to or less than 14 per 100,000, according to the CDPH.
“As we continue to move through different colored tiers, then the San Francisco Department of Public Health will give us more guidance,” Kuwahara said, “however, I think beginning competitions is a great start.”
Indoor sports such as volleyball and basketball require stricter guidelines due to their increased risk of spread from lack of airflow.
“I am not totally sure how the competitions are going to go, considering everyone will need to be in masks and a safe distance away from each other,” sophomore Molly Darling said. “The practices have been going smoothly, so I am hopeful that it will work out just as practices have been for the past few weeks.”
For many senior athletes, the updated guidelines are a relief as they look to finish out their high school sports experience.
“I am really happy to be able to finish off my high school sports career,” Boyd said. “ I think everyone should be really grateful, but continue to follow COVID-19 guidelines.”