Purple tier pauses practices

PHOTO: The Davis High stadium remains closed to the public.

By Alexandra Zurborg,

BlueDevilHUB.com Editor–

With Yolo County recently falling back into the purple tier, Davis Joint Unified School District has suspended all pod conditioning and all practices. DJUSD plans to work closely with county and state health departments and CIF to get students back to playing as soon as possible. For now, practices will be suspended for a minimum of two weeks and will hopefully resume Dec. 7. For more information, go to www.cifstate.org.

Before the announcement, different sports followed strict guidelines. Junior Chloe Barr participates in track and field.

“For track, we practice in smaller pods. Groups of 10 at a time and a mask is required upon arrival and cool down periods. Also, we have to keep a safe distance away from other runners,” Barr said. 

The football team has also been following similar guidelines. “Some new guidelines are receivers have to use gloves at all times when catching balls, quarterbacks have to wear masks and we cannot do indoor training,” junior Nathan Kerr said. “For practices we start off by checking each player’s temperature and then we are split into position specific pods and train at separate stations. Stations usually involve conditioning, weightlifting and agility. At the end of practice we go over plays as a team and socially distance.”

Athletic director Jeff Lorenson stresses the importance of these guidelines. “Guidelines have been the same since we started. Pre-practice screening, masks at all times unless engaged in high intensity aerobic activity, social distancing at all times and no more than 10 students per pod in a designated area,” Lorenson said. “If programs are not able to follow the guidelines, the programs could be denied the opportunity to practice until restrictions ease.”

Only a handful of teams had started practicing or conditioning in late October. However, some teams haven’t had any information given to them.

“We usually have practice options starting in October and November, but I don’t know why we haven’t started practicing. I don’t know the team’s plan for this season either,” senior softball player Stevie Spencer said.

With lack of information, most teams don’t know when they’ll be able to play against teams or when their season will officially start. The football teams schedule for the high school has been completely rearranged. 

“We plan on going into official season on Dec. 7 and our first game will be sometime in January. Dec. 7 till the end of March is our full league play, April and May will be playoffs,” Kerr said.

The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) released a statement on Nov. 16 with the concern of starting competitions and tournaments due to the current state of COVID-19. “In today’s COVID-19 press briefing, Governor Gavis Newsom and Dr. Mark Ghaly from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) disclosed that the release of updated youth sports guidance has been postponed. Therefore, the current guidance remains in effect, and CIF competitions are not allowed until new guidance is provided.”

Restrictions will make it more difficult to conduct practices, and have shut some down completely. However, Lorenson is confident that DHS teams are capable of conducting practices in a safe matter. 

“We all have a responsibility to ensure these guidelines are being followed, our coaches are the primary supervisor of activity. If the state and county health department restrict activity we will follow. However, we were able to safely participate and score when the tiered system came out and throughout our time in the purple tier,” Lorenson said. “ All programs have done a great job planning and following protocols. Should a program not follow the protocols that programs will likely be suspended from participation of small pod practices until restrictions ease.”

One student, who wishes to not be named, believes that the state, the county and the district should let their students play. 

“I just find it interesting how private sports at the moment are way more efficient overall than high school sports. I feel like the school and government just needs to let the kids play, obviously with some restrictions but not stopping them from playing completely. The private sector of sports, the college level, the professional level and other high schools across the country are being allowed to play, so why can’t Davis?”

Most teams have suspended their practice until further notice. However, students are still hopeful for their season.

“We haven’t started high school water polo because it involves a lot of physical contact. Hopefully our season is just pushed back, but it’s not official,” sophomore Alana Ahuna said.

“We are hopeful that track meets will start sometime in February, it all depends on COVID cases and when the vaccine is released. Even though this season might be different, I’m glad to be able to get out there and see a few classmates. I’m hopeful this season will somewhat happen sometime in 2021,” Barr said.

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