Will Santa Clara County observe state’s new prep sports activities tips?

Santa Clara County’s health officials made noncommittal on their plans on Friday as advocates of California youth sports celebrated the state’s easing of restrictions on high-contact activities.

Santa Clara County fell well below the state’s new case rate parameters of 14 or fewer COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents to allow football and other contact sports while at the highest level of the reopening system.

But even with 10.1 cases per 100,000 residents, district officials did not immediately endorse the plan. Santa Clara County has some of the strictest COVID-19 policies in the country.

The Bay Area’s most populous county offered hope to high schools when they sounded open to the idea of ​​allowing more outdoor contact sports.

In a statement to the Bay Area News Group, district officials said they would review the new guidelines and provide additional instructions before the state guidelines go into effect next Friday.

“While the county continues to be very concerned about protecting the community from the spread of COVID-19, we also recognize the value of finding ways to expand acceptable sports activities as safely as possible, as well as the need to improve the physical and mental Capabilities of our communities to protect health holistically, ”the statement said.

State officials announced Friday that high school soccer and other outdoor sports would be allowed to play in many parts of California for the first time in nearly 12 months, under new guidelines from the Department of Health.

Soccer, baseball, softball, soccer, water polo, and lacrosse are among the sports allowed to begin competing next Friday in any county that meets the per capita fall rate standard. Currently, 27 of the state’s 58 counties, including all counties except Contra Costa and Solano in the Bay Area, are at or below the 14 case threshold.

Dave Grissom, the commissioner for the Central Coast Section, which owns most of Santa Clara County’s schools, said reaching out to local health officials for clarification was a priority.

CIF state executive director Ron Nocetti admitted Friday that some schools may face stricter rules than the state due to local jurisdiction.

“I would say that the governor’s office and the California Department of Health have clearly drawn up very clear and fair guidelines and that we have to trust these experts from the California Department of Health,” he said in an interview. “I would hope that all of our constituencies will consider further developments.”

The Santa Clara County statement said officials would consider the broad benefits and risks of the state’s new sports plan.

Serra High’s Patrick Walsh, who led the return to the game as the founder of the Golden State High School Football Coaches Community, recommended that stakeholders push back when counties and school districts apply stricter rules than the state.

Walsh said state officials “set the bar and that should be the bar.”

In a video press conference attended by coaching community leaders and parent-run Let Them Play CA, Walsh also said, “I don’t support counties that go beyond and are more restrictive than the government at the top.

“I don’t think it’s necessary. I think the effort, data and science suggests we should support this movement and support our governor and what he thinks is best for children in the state. “

Walsh said if local authorities have stricter guidelines than the state, officials can expect lobbying from the groups that have urged California lawmakers to revise their policies.

As a practical matter, it remains a mystery what happens next.

Laura Reynolds, coach of the Menlo School girls ‘water polo team, held the Knights’ first training session an hour after state officials announced the new guidelines.

But as a member of the West Catholic Athletic League in water polo, Menlo may not be allowed to compete against the four schools in Santa Clara County, Reynolds said.

As of now, she said the Knights’ schedule begins on March 10 against St. Ignatius College Prep in San Francisco and Sacred Heart Prep one block from Menlo School in Atherton.

After that the school has a reunion and then plays the same two schools again, at least as it is now.

“My sporting director told me to slow it down, we have a lot to find out,” Reynolds said.

Staff writer Evan Webeck contributed to this story.

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