Magazine News Sport Volume 70, Issue 2

Las Lomas Athletics Transition to COVID-19 Protocols

By Charlie Pentland

While Las Lomas students are at their houses during school hours, Las Lomas sports are beginning to start back up with special protocols to combat the coronavirus. 

In a poll asking Las Lomas athletes if they were excited to start practices for fall sports, 96%  said they were ready to take the field for their teams again, although not exactly team practices yet. According to AUHSD board member Kathy Coppersmith, “The students you see “practicing” are in camps not yet in team practice.” Students are still eager to get out and play for their school. One of the 96% is Khalil Grant. He is a sophomore basketball player who was eager to get back out on the court with his teammates. “I couldn’t wait to start practicing again,” Grant said. The Las Lomas basketball team is hosting workouts twice a week that include precautions to prevent student-athletes from contracting the virus. “We have to wear masks the whole time regardless if we are playing or not,” continued Grant. When asked if wearing a mask during play affected his performance, he said: “The masks make it tough to see and breathe sometimes but I would much rather have to wear a mask and play then not get the opportunity at all.”

In addition to Khalil, sophomore Josie Schneider is a girls soccer player. They are yet to start up practices, but she is eager to play again: “I am still playing on a club team right now, but I’d jump at the opportunity to be able to play for Las Lomas again.” She went on to say that she would follow all of the safety guidelines if it meant she could take the field for Las Lomas again. “Yes, I would wear a mask. I think at some points it may be tough to breathe or whatever, I think it’s a fair and safe tradeoff to have.”

Sports such as water polo are using player specific equipment to limit contact between other players. “We have to use our own balls for the duration of practice” said junior water polo player Sarah Zeiph, who has started practice with her team. “We must also wear masks from when we step foot on campus until we get into the water.” The Las Lomas administration is taking necessary precautions by enforcing a mask mandate on campus during school hours leading up to practices.

Officially, the Las Lomas Sports Department must comply with local government rules and regulations according to the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF). While it remains unsure what students have to do to earn back their fall sports season, it’s appart admistrionaron is working hard to do so. 

.The CIF’s “return to activity plan” that was published in mid June comes with a lot of other rules such as facility cleaning, entrance and exit strategies, and recommended face coverings. The CIF’s two-phase plan limits the number of people in gatherings. Phase one includes more conservative guidelines limiting people to workout in “pods” of 5-10 people who must remain 6 feet apart. Phase two is more relaxed including bumping the number of people of outdoor workouts to 50 people but still be separated into groups of 5-10 people. Las Lomas Sports Director Tim Kruger stated that it is uncertain which phase Las Lomas is currently in, however Francisco Navarro, commissioner of the Oakland division for the CIF stated that the AUHSD school sports programs are nearing a potential restart. He stated “ Unfortunately not much information to share at this time other than we are preparing for a restart in December.” Since Las Lomas is considered to be in the Oakland division it’s important to note that we could see a potential sports rheostat as early as December.

While California has a mask mandate on June 18th and is still active, the CIF is giving coaches and administration control on whether or not their players wear masks during workouts. Land sports like basketball are requiring players to play with masks, on the other hand, sports like football are not requiring masks during workouts. Las Lomas athletic director Tim Kruger explained this and said“The difference is rules for inside vs outside activities. When they are outside, Basketball takes their masks off as well for conditioning.” Head Football coach Doug Longero was asked to comment, but did not respond.

“We are told to try to social distance during practice,” said Dalton Bader, a junior football player who has been participating in football workouts. He went on to say “We only have done drills that don’t involve contact between players. While I miss contact, I understand that it needs to be so it remains safe.” 

Students can expect to play all of their fall sports, just delayed a season, then winter and spring sports will be combined during the spring, according to the CIF’s new proposed sports calendar. With the delayed schedule, the CIF propess playoffs for fall sports would begin in late March/ early April compared to when it used to be in mid January. In turn, this pushes the 2020-2021 winter and spring seasons playoffs as late as early June according to CIF’s website. This proposes an interesting problem for athletes who play multiple sports and will need to pick one sport for that season.This is 

While the 2020-2021 school year sports seasons may look different, these CIF guidelines allow the athletes to play sports. It is unclear whether or not there will be spectators allowed at future games.