The return to sports programs at San Benito High School is hopeful, but doubtful if the county remains in the highly restrictive purple tier of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, determined by the number of positive COVID-19 cases.
San Benito High School District Superintendent Shawn Tennenbaum explained to the Board of Trustees on Jan. 12 the progress the school has made to reopen its athletic programs.
“We’ve had to flow three seasons into potentially two,” he said. “Currently, we have our cohorts out on campus, all outside in their small cohort conditioning areas. We’ve done a fantastic job and my hat’s off to our coaches and student athletes.”
The school continues to follow safety protocols, Tennenbaum said, and information released by the California Interscholastic Federation—the governing body for high school sports—indicates a potential fall season could start as soon as Jan. 16. He said even though the county is still in the purple tier, a number of sports, including water polo, cross country, cheer, field hockey, football, and girl’s volleyball, are preparing to compete against other schools.
Each sport has been placed in a colored tier matching the county’s tier that will allow it to return to normal sports activities and competition with other schools. All teams are currently in the widespread (purple) tier, though cross country and sideline cheer can compete normally. Field hockey teams will be able to compete when the county moves into the substantial (red) tier. The moderate (orange) tier will allow girls indoor volleyball, water polo, and football to play. The minimal (yellow) tier will allow competitive cheer to compete normally.
“There are a few things that will need to happen,” Tennenbaum said. “One of those is if the regional stay-at-home order is lifted or altered, and the state working with CIF to determine if we’re going to have an actual athletic season and what it would look like. Each of the sports will be categorized by the tier color of the county.”
In a less restrictive environment, the school would follow guidelines and equipment would be allowed, and they would return to full sport activities including drills, small- and large-group play, as well as team scrimmages. In a limited sports activity mode, teams could practice while maintaining six-foot distancing and modified drills.
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