California Suspends Youth Sports, CUSD Not Affected

Athletes from Clovis West and Clovis East faced off at the Unified Soccer Tournament held at Clovis North in 2019. All TRAC schools were in attendance, including Central. (Photo by Nugesse Ghebrendrias)

The California Department of Public Health released new guidelines for youth sports in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Youth sports and physical education are only allowed when physical distancing of at least six feet can be maintained; and a stable cohort, such as a class, if it limits the risk of transmitting COVID-19. Activities must take place outside to the maximum extent possible.

Indoor sports activities should follow local guidance for gyms and fitness centers, including physical distancing, face coverings and occupancy.

For sports that cannot be played without sufficient distancing and cohorting, only physical conditioning is permitted and only with sufficient distancing.

Granite Ridge Intermediate seventh grade football coach John Flanagan said that he expects the fall youth sports to be moved to the Spring, similar to what high schools are doing after the CIF postponed its fall seasons, including conditioning and training.

“I think we will be following pretty close to the same schedule,” Flanagan said. “From what I have heard, there is nothing positive about a schedule yet for us, but I’m sure our season will be shortened a little bit.”

CUSD spokeswoman Kelly Avants said that since intermediate/youth sports are not governed by CIF, decisions are left to each district. 

“CIF isn’t over our intermediate sports and therefore it is more of a local decision that we can make,” Avants said in an email.

“We’ve been focused on getting the school year started and sorting through the CIF requirements/announcements and are now honing in on our plans for intermediate school athletics.”

The guidelines said that sports that require close contact or promote congregating are not permitted, potentially also affecting soccer, wrestling, water polo and others. They impact all youth sports and activities, including school-based, club and recreational.

“Postponing or cancelling is probably in the best interest of the kids,” Flanagan said.

Michael graduated from Fresno State in May 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in print journalism. During his time at the university, he served as sports and managing editor for The Collegian, Fresno State’s student-run newspaper. In addition to the Clovis Roundup, Michael has written for The Fresno Bee, the Kingsburg Recorder and Selma Enterprise. He has a passion for sports and can be found on the sidelines at local games, bringing the citizens of Clovis the athletics news they deserve.