San Diego Unified rescinds off-season sports ban after just over a week

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) –  On January 4, 2022, the San Diego Unified School District made the shocking decision to shut down all “out of season” sports.

The district claimed it was out of safety for the students, but parents and coaches felt otherwise.

The shut down banned students from working out or practicing with their teammates in most situations, but as we know, the student athletes still worked out and practiced with each other on their own time.

Just over a week later, and SDUSD has already announced that they have rescinded their shut down orders.

Scripps Ranch football coach Marlon Gardinera, who led the successful ‘Let Them Play’ movement, discussed the district’s decision to rescind the ban with KUSI’s Paul Rudy on Good Morning San Diego.

Cif Sports New Guidance As Of 11222

RELATED STORY: San Diego Unified School District shuts down all ‘out of season’ sports

The following email was sent by SDUSD to their Athletic Directors:

Athletic Directors,

As we continue to see increases in COVID positive rates and recognize that this variant is very contagious, it is critical that we continue to implement our current mitigation strategies and increase our mitigations in some cases. We are also seeing increases in the numbers of athletic contests that are being cancelled because of COVID. As a result, the district has updated its guidance which is based on our continued collaboration with our district medical team, as we will continue to follow the science. Please see the updated guidance below.

For in season sports:
Changes and critical information to our district protocols about the following:
● Spectators for SDUSD indoor sporting events: The CDPH and CIF released new guidance that is scheduled to go into effect on January 15, 2022. A mega event for indoor went from 1000 to now 500. We could have some games that reach this threshold thus effective January 15, 2022, you will need to have someone at the entry door and only allow 500 people in attendance. If a school anticipates a contest with over 500 spectators, there are specific guidelines that need to be followed per CDPH and the school should contact the athletics office for additional direction and support.
● Vaccinations for student athletes and students participating in extracurricular activities: Currently, the district DOES NOT plan to require a vaccine for student athletes or for extracurricular activities; however, the district continues to encourage all eligible athletes to get vaccinated and as a coach, you should plan for the potential that the Court of Appeal will allow the district to move forward with this in the near future.
● Testing for student athletes participating in indoor sports (wrestling and basketball):
1. Regardless of vaccination status, students will need to test twice a week.
2. Student athletes will need to be tested once a week through your normal school testing procedure/days.
3. The additional test will be performed by the Athletic Trainers (ATCs):
○ This week additional test kits are being sent to sites and the ATCs are being trained on how to administer/report COVID tests to assist with this testing requirement.
○ Begin initiating the second test as soon as the test kits have arrived and your ATC is cleared to administer/report.

For out of season sports:
As you are aware coming back from winter break amongst rising COVID cases within high school athletics, offseason CIF sports were shut down while COVID cases surged. The district continues to assess and investigate the situation and in consultation with the district medical team, the decision to re-open out of season workout routines has been approved as long as the following conditions are adhered to:

Safe Environment:

1. All CIF out of season sport conditioning/activities MUST take place outside.
2. Indoor CIF out of season sport conditioning/activities are not permitted at this time.
3. Conditioning/activities for CIF out of season sports should have start and end times that are coordinated so that multiple cohorts of students are not entering and exiting at the same time.
4. Athletes are to wear face masks that cover both their nose and mouth.
5. Masks may be removed outdoors in certain situations and with certain distancing recommendations for athletics: wearing a mask is encouraged but not mandatory when playing.
6. Face masks are mandatory when arriving and exiting all athletic facilities.
7. All coaches will be required to wear face masks while on campus and throughout the duration of conditioning/out of season sports activities.
8. Coaches should stress the importance and need for students to stay 6 feet apart from one another and wear masks that cover their nose and mouth on the way in and out of the facility and until they reach home. This includes parent carpooling, etc.
9. No spectators (including parents, children, students and media) will be permitted within any athletic practice/conditioning facility for out of season sport activities.
10. Student athletes must bring their own labeled water bottle and water may not be shared.
11. Students and staff should be physically distanced whenever possible (6-feet).
12. Coaches are responsible for ensuring cohorts stay together for out of season sports.
13. Hand sanitizer and PPE supplies will be utilized by all in attendance and can be acquired from custodial.

1. Student athletes for CIF out of season sports who are unvaccinated will need to be tested once a week through your normal school testing procedure/days.

Please communicate with your coaches that we worked to address the medical concerns and challenges that COVID is presenting for athletics and thus we want to make sure we adhere to this guidance approved by our district medical team to hopefully mitigate exposure and ensure we have no future closures or cancellations. I also understand the new guidance put some additional items on your plate to address so reach out if you have questions or need clarity.

As always, the information and status is fluid and may change as additional information comes from district case rates or guidance from CIF, CDPH, etc.

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