After months of uncertainty, high school football in California will be played this winter and spring.
The California Department of Public Health released its youth sports update Friday following discussions with the CIF and local coaches as COVID-19 cases around the state decline. According to the Los Angeles Times, the new guidelines pave the way for high school football and water polo teams to begin practicing on Feb. 26.
High-contact sports such as football, rugby and water polo with participants over the age of 13 can be played in counties with an adjusted daily case rate of 14 or fewer per 100,000 population. Regular weekly testing for coaches and student-athletes is required. Los Angeles County currently has a case rate of 17.6 per 100,000, making its programs ineligible to compete until that number goes down.
Per the Los Angeles Times, either antigen or PCR testing will be required for participants in athletic competitions. The state is planning on working with schools to ensure testing is completed, connecting them with testing sites in their respective communities.
“I think it’s very much a positive way forward,” said Ron Nocetti, executive director of the CIF.
High school sports in California came to a halt last March amid the COVID-19 pandemic and competitive sports remained out of action for months despite other states holding competition due to state guidelines. The CIF voted in July to delay the 2020-21 fall sports season until December, but that was pushed back further as COVID-19 cases in California spiked.