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Lawsuit settlement allows all California youth and high school sports to resume

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Posted at 9:48 AM, Mar 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-04 21:29:26-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- All youth and high school sports across California will be allowed to resume after a settlement was reached in a lawsuit filed by two San Diego County high school student-athletes.

On Thursday, the group Let Them Play CA announced an agreement with state officials that would let youth and high school sports -- indoor and outdoor -- return to action, provided counties meet California's COVID-19 case rate threshold.

It will be up to individual schools, school districts and counties whether sports can resume, and counties must reach an adjusted case rate of 14 or lower per 100,000 to take part.

While the group did not lay out any specific details on the settlement during a Thursday morning news conference, Stephen Grebing -- an attorney representing the plaintiffs in the lawsuit -- offered some guidelines that were agreed upon:

  • All indoor sports can resume with testing of athletes
  • Limited number of spectators will be allowed to attend games, with only four immediate family members initially
  • Testing will be conducted within 48 hours of competition, with periodic testing of athletes throughout the week
  • State is only providing testing for water polo, rugby, football

The full guidelines were expected to be available on the California Department of Public Health website later Thursday or early Friday, according to Grebing.

Marlon Gardinera, head coach at Scripps Ranch High School and the father of one of the plaintiffs, said testing resources will be available for schools districts at no cost, and information on obtaining testing can be found at TestTodayCA.com.

Gardinera and Bradley Hensley, co-founder of Let Them Play California, said CARES Act funds and insurance will cover the costs for testing.

When asked about the settlement at his daily COVID-19 update, Gov. Gavin Newsom said he had not yet read the terms of the settlement. Another attorney representing the plaintiffs, Ian Friedman, said he had no reason to doubt Newsom's comments as the settlement agreement still needs to be finalized, but Friedman said they had assurances that Newsom has signed off on "new guidelines to be released by the CDPH (California Department of Public Health) later this week."

In late January, Scripps Ranch High School senior Nicholas Gardinera and Cameron Woolsey, a Mission Hills High School senior, filed a lawsuit against the state and San Diego County over coronavirus pandemic-related restrictions regarding indoor and outdoor youth sports.

A Vista judge granted a temporary restraining order last month in the lawsuit. San Diego Superior Court Judge Earl H. Maas III's order held that youth sports could resume if teams maintained COVID-19 protocols similar to those that professional and collegiate teams follow.

City News Service contributed to this report