SACRAMENTO – Football, volleyball and other popular high school sports will remain on hold until at least Jan. 25 as cases of the coronavirus continue to surge in the state, according to new guidance released by the California Department of Public Health on Monday.
The state’s four-tier coronavirus tracking system underpins the long-awaited guidance for when outdoor and indoor youth and recreational adult sports can resume. “High-contact” outdoor sports such as football and soccer can only be played in counties that are in the orange, or moderate, tier. As of Monday, 54 counties, including the nine that make up the Bay Area, were in the purple, or widespread, tier; three were in the red, or substantial, tier; and one was in the orange tier.
Inter-team competition will not be allowed in the state until Jan. 25 at the earliest, according to the guidance.
Justin Alumbaugh, head football coach at De La Salle High School in Concord, wasn’t surprised to see his sport on the lower end of the return-to-play classification.
“A lot of that makes sense,” Alumbaugh said in a telephone interview. “It’s going to be a challenge, but at least it’s doable. Now we’re given something that we can work with. That was something that we were really, really, really needing and we got it. ”
“Now it’s up to us to start implementing what’s going on,” Alumbaugh said. “It’ll be interesting to see what the (California Interscholastic Federation) does with this – if they have to move (sports) around.”
Indoor basketball faces a tougher challenge. It was placed in the yellow, or minimal, tier. The guidance states that indoor sports are higher risk than outdoor sports because of reduced ventilation.
Sports that can be played in the purple tier include cross county, golf, swimming and diving, tennis, and track and field.
Check back for updates.