By Adam Tarr
On December 17th, 2020, the California Department of Health and the California Interscholastic Federation released modifications and guidelines regarding the 2020-2021 high school sports season. When playing a high school sport, some of the things that make being on a team so special are competing against other teams and playing with your peers. Athletes in 2021 will have had to adapt to new norms to ensure that students can safely participate in sports without contracting the virus. Across all levels of sports, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused uncertainty and drama as well as opportunities for growth and learning.
The new guidelines state which sports are allowed to be played in each COVID-19 tier. Contra Costa is currently in the red tier which only allows for sports such as cross-country, track and field and golf to be played, sports that are easy to play using social distancing and which have a lower COVID-19 threat. “I think that right now some sports are riskier than others, like for example, football. If you’re really close to people and you’re having physical contact with people that’s more of a threat because you can’t have that distancing…” said Megan Sechle, a senior on the cross-country team at Las Lomas. The CIF regularly updates their guidelines and the status of each county in returning to sports on their website.
“I’m pretty eager [to return]. I think that the safety of our community right now is more important than returning back to our normal sports,” Sechle added. Students will not be able to compete against other teams until at least January 25th at the current time of this article being written.
During the pandemic, sports have not been anywhere close to normal. At all levels, athletes have had to change routines and make sacrifices just to have the chance to play the sports they love. “Some of the challenges that we’ve had to adjust and get used to, is [high fiving] a lot, and the stretching groups, and circles [when normally], [you’d] be breathing on each other and of course you can’t do that now.” Sechle added.
It’s hard to say when high school sports will return to normalcy. With the COVID-19 vaccine finally being distributed to people 16 and over, it’s possible we could see some ease in restrictions. Unfortunately, this likely won’t be any time soon because people in the high school age levels are not prioritized.