East County Sports

Waiting painful as states played on

ECS staff report

SAN DIEGO – The following is a public memo from CIF San Diego Section commissioner Joe Heinz and assistant commissioner Todd Cassen to principals and directors of athletics to the more than 100 schools which participate in interscholastic sports in San Diego and Imperial counties.

According to the correspondence, the next key date was expected to be today, Mon., Jan. 4, when the California Department of Public Health will reassess the COVID-19 pandemic to determine if youth and high school sports activities may begin on the target date of Mon., Jan. 25.

There are several factors involved, including the status of each county in the state and their risk factors.

The complete memo follows, or you may read the information posted on the CIFSDS website, HERE: http://www.cifsds.org/uploads/2/3/3/6/23368454/updated_memo_-_december_22_2020.pdf

 San Diego Section Leaders:
Earlier this week, updated guidance was released from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) regarding Youth Sports, in which we were pleased to see that our state will finally begin to allow athletic competitions to be held at both the Youth & High School levels. The sport specific guidance provided aligns each of our sports with a Risk Profile, that is then paired with the Tier Assignments found within the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Overall, the guidance provides us with information on which sports can begin athletic practices, and competitions, based upon the current Tier Assignment of their county. While this information is vital to our mission of returning High School Sports to the San Diego Section, I would also be remiss if I didn’t add that this guidance does not align with the thorough and thoughtful plans submitted to the California Department of Public Health earlier this fall by our State CIF Health & Safety Committee. Our Executive Director, Dr. Ron Nocetti, CAA, Ed.D., has committed to continue to meet and collaborate with the leaders of the CDPH, with the hope of making an adjustment to the state’s current guidance to allow additional sports to have their Tier Assignments adjusted to enable more competitions to begin at the Purple and Red Tiers. The student athletes, coaches, athletic administrators, and parents of the San Diego Section have waited patiently for their opportunity to get back into the athletic arena, and we are committed to do all we can to make that happen.
I. Key Takeaways from the Updated CDPH Guidance
 • Youth & High School Athletic Competitions Can Begin on January 25, 2021! The state will reassess this date by January 4, 2021 should any adjustments need to be made.
 • Cohorts Are Now Considered to be the Entire Team of a Sport. Prior cohort guidance-maintained ratios of 14 student-athletes to 2 coaches. Now an entire team of a sport is considered the cohort
. • COVID-19 Safety Protocols. Youths recovering from COVID-19 will have different paths to return to sports based on the severity of their illness. Those who are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms should not exercise until cleared by a physician. Please review the American Academy of Pediatrics Interim Guidance on Return to Sports for additional guidance for more serious infections.
 • Will Schools Be Allowed to Host Tournaments? No, only two schools may enter into an athletic competition at one time. Exceptions for sports like Cross Country, Golf, Swim & Dive, Tennis, and Track & Field may be permitted with the approval of the San Diego County Health Department.
 • Are Teams Allowed to Travel Out of State for Competitions? No, all CIF competitions must be played with teams from the same, or bordering counties that are both currently within a Tier Assignment that permits the contest to be held.
Based upon the updated guidance released from the state, the ability of each sport to participate in athletic competitions will depend upon the current Tier Assignment for each County, and the Risk Profile determination for each sport.
Below is the breakdown of each CIF Sport and the Tier Assignment in which sport specific practices and competitions will be permitted throughout the state of California:
Purple Tier: Cross Country, Golf, Swim & Dive, Tennis, Track & Field
Red Tier: Baseball, Field Hockey, Girls Lacrosse, Softball
Orange Tier: Badminton, Football, Gymnastics, Boys Lacrosse, Soccer, Volleyball, Water Polo 
Yellow Tier: Basketball, Cheer, Wrestling
Student athletes throughout the state may begin/continue with skill development and conditioning activities no matter the current tier assignment for the county as long as the practice can take place outside and adhere to the current physical distancing guidelines.
Indoor practices are not permitted for counties currently in the Purple Tier. Under the updated guidance, conditioning, and skill development practices, for indoor facilities, are permissible once a county reaches the Red Tier but are limited to 10% capacity of the facility. (Tier Capacities: Red Tier 10%, Orange Tier 25%, Yellow Tier 50%).
Each sport in the San Diego Section may not transition from a conditioning/skill based training session, to a traditional, competition based practice, or hold athletic competitions until the point in which our County Tier Assignment aligns with the specific sports determination for each Tier.
Previously, all of our Season 1 Sports were scheduled to hold their first practices on Saturday, December 12, 2020. Based upon the state’s delay in releasing the guidance, we officially put the start of Season 1 on hold until the point we received updated guidance that would allow us to officially open a season of sport.
Based upon the information provided in the updated guidance, along with multiple discussions with our Section Leadership and Governance, we will continue to prepare for the projected opening of high school competitions on January 25, 2021.
As we head into the Holiday Break we undoubtedly have numerous obstacles that must be overcome in order for the section to return our student athletes to the competitive arena that has been absent since early March of 2020. We know how important this is to all of our stakeholders, and we will continue to put all our efforts into turning this goal into reality.
We hope this information is useful to you, and in the time ahead should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the CIF San Diego Section office. My staff and I are ready, willing, and able to assist you should you need any assistance. We have also attached the most updated “Education Based Athletics COVID-19 Modifications” developed by the CIF State office. This document will be updated weekly by our state office and posted on our CIF San Diego Section website.
Thank you and may you and your family have a wonderful holiday season!
Joe Heinz
CIFSDS Commissioner

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