Country Day is continuing its trek towards normalcy as more sports are being permitted to start. Since the start of cross country and the end of golf and ski and snowboard in February and March, Country Day sports will soon include co-ed soccer, co-ed tennis, co-ed track and field, girls volleyball, baseball, and boys and girls basketball.
With more sports starting, however, Country Day is adapting to the new rules and guidelines provided by the California Department of Public Health.
Athletic Director Matt Vargo said some of the rules the school is following are only recommendations from the CDPH.
According to the CDPH, athletes and coaches should treat each team as a cohort and students and coaches should only participate on one team over the same season or period of time.
“Following these recommendations and guidelines shows the school’s commitment that the health and safety of our students and coaches is our top priority,” Vargo said. “At the same time though, not all schools are following these guidelines.”
Along with the recommendations about athletes participating in a single sport at a time, the CDPH has altered guidelines on who is allowed to attend and watch youth sports.
Observers are limited to immediate household members of the athletes. The guidelines require physical distance to be maintained, a necessity to reduce potential crowding and to maintain indoor capacity limits.
Limitation of capacity is based on the different color tiers. Each state maps the level of COVID-19 spread in each county and ranks the severity using colors. The four different tiers indicate which sports are allowed to be played based on what tier each county is in. Tier three (Orange/Moderate) allows 25% capacity and 50% in Tier four (Yellow/Minimal). Sacramento County is currently in the Red Tier.
“Some events will have no spectators like in a small gym,” Vargo said. “Other times there will be a lot if it is in a place like a large field or park with lots of space for people to distance themselves.”
In an informal Octagon poll sent out to the high school on March 26, students were asked if they thought athletes should be allowed to play more than one sport at a time. Of the 143 high school students, 53 responded and of those, 64.2% said students should be allowed to play more than one sport at a time.
Freshman Gulzar Sohal was one of those students.
“The risk of getting COVID-19 is the same in each sport,” Sohal said. “Unless all the schools in the district are following these guidelines, it wouldn’t make sense. The other schools will have multiple-sport athletes who interact with our players and the exposure would still occur.”
Sohal plans to play basketball if it occurs but won’t be able to swim.
Similar to Sohal, 52.1% of students of those who responded to the poll who play more than one sport are choosing to play one over the other.
“It is obvious to me that I favor basketball a lot more over swimming. I put more time into basketball compared to swimming and I have more of a passion for basketball,” Sohal said.
He said he feels like he is missing out on a big part of his high school experience.
“I would be really upset if there was no basketball this year,” he said. “I didn’t have a basketball team at my middle school, and I have been waiting for a long time to play a school sport.”
Senior Hana Lee is one of the 11.3% of students who responded to the poll who think that students shouldn’t be allowed to play more than one sport.
Lee’s point of view, however, is not based on the potential increased spread of COVID-19.
“Sports and teams this year are being spread thin,” Lee said. “Teams are smaller and are having much shorter seasons.”
Of the students who responded to the poll, 35.7% are electiving not to participate in sports this year because of COVID-19.
Lee thinks that restricting athletes to one sport per season will allow the smaller teams to actually have a season and for athletes to focus and give their best efforts to one sport.
“Playing multiple sports at once can be difficult even during a regular year,” she said. “It’s almost impossible for an athlete to constantly be putting equal amounts of effort into each sport. They’re always going to be favoring one over another.”
Lee plays varsity volleyball. She, along with the other seniors, are excited to be having a season at all.
“I don’t have many expectations going into the season,” Lee said. “We’re all just hoping to have a long and enjoyable senior season and to maybe win a few games.”
— By Miles Morrow
Originally published in the April 13 edition of the Octagon.