Full practice and athletic competition start dates for high school sports in California are on hold, the CIF announced in a statement on Tuesday.
“The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) does not expect the California Department of Public Health will issue any guidance allowing for schools to return to full practice and competition until after January 1, 2021, at the earliest,” the statement reads. “Thus, all full practice and competition start dates are officially on hold until updated guidance is issued.”
The CIF also announced that Regional and State Championship events have been removed from the Season 1 sports calendar to give schools more schedule flexibility. Season 1 sports include football, boys and girls water polo, boys and and girls cross country and girls volleyball.
The boys volleyball season will be moved from Season 1 to Season 2 to avoid the potential loss of a second full season.
“By canceling Regional and State Championship events, more student-athletes will have the opportunity to participate in a longer season, rather than a truncated season with Regional and State post-season play for a limited number of schools,” the CIF said in the statement.
The CIF State office announced in July that all three seasons of high school sports in California would be moved to later in the 2020-2021 school year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The three traditional high school sports seasons – fall, winter and spring – were scheduled to be played between December and June, but instead of the usual three seasons of sports, the state office announced there would be two condensed seasons, fall (Season 1) and spring (Season 2).
Full practices for the fall season — which includes football, competitive cheer, boys and girls cross country, girls volleyball and boys and girls water polo — were scheduled to begin in December. Dates for beginning those seasons of sport are now on hold.
Every county that makes up the Southern LA City and San Diego Sections are currently in the “purple widespread” tier for COVID-19 cases. The tiered system monitors every county’s COVID-19 test positivity and adjusted case rate. Here’s how the system works, according to the California Department of Public Health:
“Every county in California is assigned to a tier based on its test positivity and adjusted case rate. At a minimum, counties must remain in a tier for at least 3 weeks before moving forward. Data is reviewed weekly and tiers are updated on Tuesdays. To move forward, a county must meet the next tier’s criteria for two consecutive weeks. If a county’s metrics worsen for two consecutive weeks, it will be assigned a more restrictive tier. Public health officials are constantly monitoring data and can step in if necessary.”
Normal practices and athletic contests won’t be allowed anywhere in the state unless counties get to the red “red substantial” tier.
In Santa Clarita, California, the Hart School District had already canceled all non-league football games for the seven teams that make up the Foothill League. The district announced the cancellations in a letter from Hart High School to parents and athletes on Nov. 20.
The CIF canceled the state’s 2019-20 basketball championships on March 12. On April 3, they canceled the remainder of the 2020 spring sports season. Since then, competitive high school athletics in California have been at a standstill.