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Youth and adult sports return under new guidelines from the state

by Steven Felschundneff | steven@claremont-courier.com

Under new guidance from the California State Department of Public Health, both youth and adult team sports can resume practice and competition beginning Friday.

“Updated state guidance allows for all outdoor youth and adult recreational sports, including moderate contact and high contact sports, to resume practice, training and competitions in counties where the case rate is at or below 14 cases per 100,000,” public health officials said in a statement on Thursday.

The new state guidance requires youth leagues offering moderate and high-contact sports to obtain consent from parents or guardians to ensure they are aware of the risks. Competitions are limited to two teams within the same county or from adjacent counties. Players and coaches who participate in high-contact sports like football and water polo are required to get a COVID-19 test weekly.

Travel to other states to play in competitions or tournaments is prohibited for counties still in the purple tier, which includes Los Angeles.

Every county in Southern California, including Los Angeles, has case rates below the threshold, opening the door for a broad range of sports to resume including baseball, softball, volleyball, football, basketball, soccer and water polo. One caveat for sports such as volleyball and basketball: competitions must be outdoors.

Claremont High School Football Coach Shane Hile said his team will be practicing three days next week and has a five-game schedule lined up, the first of which will be March 19 against Chino Hills at home.

“We are very excited for our football boys, our school and the Claremont community,” Coach Hile said. “Our high school students have had a tough year and it’s nice they are getting this.”

There was not official word on Thursday whether fans would be allowed to attend games.

According to the CIF Southern Section, just football and boys and girls water polo are returning to competition at this time, but other sports can begin practice with games and meets in the future. No-contact or low-contact sports that already had permission to compete include tennis, golf, cross country and track and field.

With just four months remaining in the semester, and so many sports receiving permission to resume, this will undoubtedly result in a serious spike in demand for athletic facilities like the football field. Adding to the headache for coaches, competitions will have to be scheduled quickly and may impact the timing of other sports that use the same facility.

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