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‘Return to Participation’ next step in restoring prep sports

There are signs that there is light at the end of the tunnel for high school student-athletes and coaches.

CIF State Executive Director Ron Nocetti announced last week during a CIF State Federation Council meeting that the office is ready to establish “Return to Participation” guidelines for schools that can open their campuses.

For the first time in the organization’s history, the meeting took place via video conferencing due to the social distancing guidelines established by Gov. Gavin Newsom “Stay at Home” order due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nocetti announced that the section commissioners would be meeting Tuesday and shortly after could have a document established.

“We are working with all of the section commissioners to have guidelines set so that student-athletes can return to some training,” Nocetti said. “We want to take this first step before doing anything else. We will be releasing a ‘Return to Competition’ guideline later on this summer. Since games won’t be taking place until the fall, we want to take our time to make sure everything is covered.”

According to Nocetti, the recommendations published last week by the National Federations of High School Associations (NFHS) were valuable. The state office, however, wants to establish its own set of guidelines put together by a sports medicine subcommittee established by the state office.

“We are thankful for the (NFHS) for putting out an extremely helpful document that has played a big part in our discussions,” Nocetti said. “However, there are certain items that we have to address. For instance, the NFHS put out three phrases as part of their recommendation. What they didn’t tell us is how to do it. That is not their job. It is our job to establish when those phases will occur.”

Schools throughout the state have remained closed due to Gov. Newsom’s “Stay at Home” order.

In the Bay Area, San Mateo Union High School District announced that student-athletes could start workouts on campus beginning June 8 under coach’s supervision while following county health guidelines. Those guidelines include no more than 12 athletes working with a single coach, temperature checks and no switching of groups.

“This is not driven by our superintendent (Kevin Skelly) wanting the six schools in the San Mateo Union High School District to leap to the forefront of their respective sports,” Aragon High School football coach and athletic director Steve Sell told the San Jose Mercury News. “It is all about the kids getting out and getting some exercise.”

In the Sacramento area, Wheatland High was the first school to be permitted to conduct conditioning drills and weightlifting activities.

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