By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor
On October 8, the California Interscholastic Federation and Los Angeles Unified School District held a collaborative Zoom meeting with athletic directors and administrators. While the CIF presented general information, the LAUSD athletics office presented a tentative timeline for a return to campus for athletic conditioning between November 2 and December 12.
Trent Cornelius, Director of Athletics for LAUSD, revealed that LAUSD will attempt something no other district is going to attempt: have everyone tested for COVID-19.
“That means kids, adults, coaches… everyone,” he said. “It may be pushed back, but October 19-30 is the tentative preliminary window we want to open up for kids and adults to go get testing—for Season 1 and Season 2. Some of these things will become more solidifed as time moves on, but once we’re ready to start getting kids on campus the tests will need to be within three days of their access to campus. All of you have different facilities and different enrollments. Testing won’t just be once, it’ll be ongoing, but I don’t know the frequency at this time.”
In his video presentation to City Section athletic directors, Cornelius said the goal is for all sports teams to be eligible to begin tryouts and conditioning Nov. 2.
“Consider this presentation a preview, not necessarily the action plan that is ready to roll out,” he stressed. “Once we’re ready to roll out there’ll be more details so no one has to reinvent the wheel at their school site. We still have more questions than answers.”
Due to the ongoing coronavirus, the CIF eliminated the winter season and narrowed the athletic year into two seasons, in which all sports will be played.
Season 1 (fall) consists of cheerleading, football, boys and girls volleyball, boys and girls water polo and cross country.
Season 2 (spring) is comprised of baseball, softball, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, boys and girls golf, boys and girls lacrosse, boys and girls tennis, swimming, wrestling and track and field.
Season 1 rosters are due Dec. 14, the same day competition is set to begin.
“Right now, LA County only allows outdoor activity,” Cornelius said. “They’re suggesting workout buddies, staggered start times, social distancing, face coverings, no shared water bottles, no high-fives and no fist bumps.”
CIF-LA Commissioner Vicky Lagos confirmed that, subject to change, golf and tennis seasons have been moved up two weeks to give coaches more time to find facilities.
City Section Sports Information Director Dick Dornan said divisions in all sports except soccer are done and were determined by the respective sport advisories. One notable change is that football will not have any divisions before the regular season. Playoff divisions will be determined at the end of the regular season by the playoff seeding committee. The soccer sport advisory has decided to wait to see which schools commit to playing prior to determining divisions, based on balance. For all other sports, as schools decide to possibly drop a specific program for the year, that school will be removed from its respective division in order to keep current divisions intact.
Season 1 is scheduled to begin with practices on Dec. 14 but Cornelius stated that current health guidelines do not permit more than 13 passengers per bus for a game: “If that doesn’t change I don’t know how we’ll have athletics.”
Since the City Section extended its summertime rules, it is up to individual schools to determine how to run their sports programs until the season starts in December. In July, the CIF announced that the 2020 fall sports season would be delayed until December because of public health and safety concerns arising from COVID-19.
The City Section, headquartered in Granada Hills and made up of 156 schools, including Palisades High, released its own statement and revised calendar shortly thereafter.
“Throughout this fluid situation it has always been the goal to give our student-athletes an opportunity to compete,” Lagos said in the statement. “These decisions took a tremendous amount of creativity, resilience, forward thinking and dedication, all while keeping the health and safety of student athletes and coaches at the forefront. The new schedule will continue to be a living document where revisions might be necessary as we navigate through these uncertain times. All dates and return to practice and competition will be predicated on the approval of the CIF, County Public Health Department and LAUSD.”
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