High school sports waiting for clarity on COVID-19 protocols

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Posted at 7:04 PM, Aug 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-17 22:45:12-04

With the high school football season set to kick off Friday, athletic directors and school officials continue to wait on word regarding proper COVID-19 protocols for the school year.

San Luis Obispo High School Athletic Director Marci Beddall said, “Right now, we’re still waiting for youth sports guidelines. We had some from last year, but things change every single day, so we don’t really have a lot to go by right now.”

She continued, “We are going by anything mandated by the state and the county. Right now, that is wearing masks indoors, coaches, athletes, eventually spectators. We’ll have our first volleyball game here pretty soon but otherwise, we don’t have to wear masks outdoors per the county guidelines and state guidelines.”

Righetti High and Bishop Diego will have to wait to get into action following a positive COVID-19 case at Righetti.

An email sent August 11 by the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District explained that the Righetti High School Football football team canceled practice due to a positive COVID-19 test.

The case was not considered an outbreak. But two days later, after consulting with the Santa Barbara County Department of Public Health, it was decided to cancel their upcoming game altogether.

The protocols Righetti is now following include weekly testing, rapid tests provided if any students or staff are symptomatic between tests and game time, and if any positives, then contact tracing will take place for close contacts.

For schools trying to prevent COVID-19 cases, they will continue to stick to previous protocols and safety measures indoors.

Beddall said, “Outdoors, there aren’t really any restrictions that we have as of now. We are certainly going to encourage masks and encourage social distancing.”

Physicians will be in attendance for games starting Friday night.

Chair of Orthopedics at Twin Cities Community Hospital Dr. Carlo Orlando said, “If there is an injury, the physicians are there as a backup to make sure they are appropriately handled and treated.”

As for wearing masks, that decision lies with the physicians.

Dr. Orlando said, “It’s not mandated to wear masks at outdoor sports. I personally am vaccinated and will wear a mask at the games because I can’t risk getting sick or infected.”

Beddall said, “We just follow the guidelines that are mandated, and our focus is on the kids and creating the best experience possible for them.”