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Area fall athletic programs move one step forward to starting their season

sports collage balls


By Loren Kopff • @LorenKopff on Twitter
November 4, 2020

It was no secret that many high school coaches of fall season teams were targeting the beginning of November as a start-up date for when their teams could begin conditioning. As it turns out, the ABC Unified School District and the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District have given their schools the green light for that to happen.

Artesia High, Cerritos High, Gahr High and Whitney High out of the ABCUSD and John Glenn High, La Mirada High and Norwalk High from the NLMUSD could begin physical conditioning as of this past Monday. The first dates in which a contest can be played for the revised fall schedule set forth by the CIF-Southern Section on July 20 are as follows: boys volleyball, Dec. 12, girls volleyball, Dec. 19, boys water polo, Dec. 21, boys and girls cross country, Dec. 26, girls water polo, Dec. 28 and 11-man football, Jan. 8. Valley Christian High is the only area school that competes in gymnastics and the first contest for that sport is Jan. 4.

Prior to the return of the conditioning, schools had Zoom meetings outlining everything involving all the safety protocols that must be followed. Artesia had its return to play information night on Oct. 21 while the other three ABCUSD high schools had theirs the following week.

Among the major points that every high school athlete and personnel must adhere to are maintaining social distancing, the wearing of masks upon entry and exiting of the schools as well as when the athletes are not engaging in high-intensity cardio activities and no more than 10 athletes in any pod, to name a few.

“I just want to say that this is new and yes, we have a plan,” said Gahr athletic director Greg Marshall during his meeting. “But we’re also going to have to work through the kinks of this. As we’re all going through this pandemic, we’re all going through different stages and learning how to acclimate to our new situation, and this is no different.”

All athletic directors stressed during their meetings that participation is voluntary and at no time are there to be competitions, scrimmages or intrasquad events. It is also important to point out that the return to conditioning, for now, only applies to the 2020-2021 fall sports per the revised CIF-SS athletic calendar. The remainder of the athletics, which are a combination of the winter and spring sports that we have been accustomed to, will have their first contests begin anywhere from the end of February to the middle or end of March.

Since there are athletes from several sports conditioning at the same time and at different areas of their respective school, each school will have staggered schedules for each pod. With that said, once a pod has concluded its conditioning period, those athletes must leave the school immediately, i.e. picked up or walk/ride home. Loitering will not be permitted, and each team will have designated drop off and pick up points. Each school will also monitor everything to make sure that the protocols and rules are followed properly, and there will be consequences for any student or coach who does not adhere to the rules.

While most schools have already put together a league schedule for all the sports, they have not completed the full schedule for their athletic programs, outside of football. Some volleyball teams may not have their first contests until January while others may just have a few non-league contests on their slate.

For more information on the return to conditioning for the fall athletics, including each athlete filling out the necessary paperwork, consult each school’s website and/or Zoom meeting.


Whitney High athletics prepare to play shorter schedules than usual due to new calendar