CIF Guidelines


Pamina Yung, Staff Writer

With sports seasons starting soon, the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), has created a ten-page document with guidelines regarding how education-based athletic practices in secondary schools are to be carried out during the coming season.

According to its website, “The CIF provides equitable athletic competition for more than 1600 high schools in California….The CIF also is the service organization to its member-schools, providing awards, honor programs, and distributing information on up-to-date health and safety issues.”

The CIF acknowledges that not all student-athletes in the entire state of California may be able to participate in sports at the same time and that their guidelines are to be considered along with instructions from local county health officials. Due to limited availability for testing and future COVID-19 updates, the guidelines are subject to change.

The guidelines recommend that schools resume practices and competitions in phases. Phase One requires a radius of at least six feet between individuals and gatherings that consist of no more than what is permitted by local directions. To limit exposure, students should work out in “pods” of the same group of five to ten people. The locker rooms are off-limits for Phase One. Phase Two guidelines state that the number of people included in indoor gatherings must not exceed the maximum given by the local county. Up to 50 people are allowed to be together for outdoor workouts. The six-feet-radius rule and “pods” suggestion also applies to Phase Two.

All facilities and equipment surfaces need to be cleaned well, and hand sanitizer should always be provided. People need to wash their hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds before engaging in physical activity. Students are advised to take a shower and wash their clothes promptly after arriving home. All students and coaches must be screened for symptoms every day, and need to report positive symptoms.

Everyone also needs to bring their own water which, along with food and athletic equipment such as towels, should not be shared. Face coverings need to be worn during exercise, with the exception of swimming, distance running, or other high-intensity aerobic activity. Using plastic face shields is discouraged due to possible injury. Cloth masks are acceptable. Students should also minimize out-of-state or non-local travel. Sadly, high-fives, fist/chest bumps, hugs, and other gestures of comradery that involve physical contact are not allowed.

Sports will be a bit unusual this year, but junior Cara Hung, a member of the Girls Varsity Tennis team, expressed her optimism, stating, “Fortunately, tennis is one of the sports that are naturally socially distant, so I feel like practice won’t be too different (than usual) even with the guidelines in place. Honestly, I’m just looking forward to seeing my teammates and starting practice.”

Sophomore Lawryn Chen, who is on the Varsity Softball team, said, “I believe it (the CIF guidelines) will affect the social aspect of our practices the most. We won’t be able to interact with each other as we did before, but at least we’ll be together. When we’re practicing, it shouldn’t be too different since fielders are a good distance away from each other regularly during defense. There should also be minimal trouble with keeping up with these safety guidelines for our offensive practices.”

If social distancing and CIF and local county guidelines are met and followed, cross country, track and field, swimming, golf, tennis, and badminton are authorized to immediately begin practice through Phase One and Phase Two. Volleyball, lacrosse, soccer, baseball, softball, gymnastics, field hockey, football, wrestling, competitive cheerleading, basketball, and water polo can resume based on local county guidelines decisions. The specifics on how each sport should conduct practice are on the CIF’s website.

AHS’ swim and water polo teams have already begun practice and are following the CIF’s guidelines. According to Janice Clark, the coach of both sports, she and her assistant used red duct tape to create six-feet distance markers and allowed only one person to use the bathroom at a time. In addition, one of the aquatic center’s gates served as a one-way entrance while the other was a one-way exit. Groups of two students were split into 13 lanes, one student on each end. Some lanes were also shared by siblings.

During water polo, goalie positions were omitted and replaced with sniper nets, and each person retrieved their own ball which was labeled with a number assigned to a specific person. After conditioning exercises, players worked on individual ball skills. These rules were also used during the summer swim and water polo camps, which were very successful especially since there were fewer students.

Ms. Clark stated, “Thanks to our summer day camps, we already have a working game plan for practices under the CIF guidelines, and we are looking forward to the time when we will be allowed to begin high school practices. Of course, by the time we get to the end of December, when CIF is planning to begin the actual competitive season for those sports designated into the fall season group (which includes boys and girls water polo), we must have the ability to have physical contact and share equipment, or the water polo season won’t be able to happen. Boys and Girls Swimming is in CIF’s spring season, which begins competition in March. Because swimming is less contact-oriented, it may be easier to begin competition for that sport. For the moment, we are hoping that LA County will move soon to the Tier 2 category in Governor Newsom’s plan so that things will open up more. Our teams are looking forward to getting back in the pool.”


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