As the second semester opens strong, many California athletes have made their now daily commute to school to practice their sport whilst socially distancing wearing masks. Now, as the season draws closer and closer, the question of who will play is quickly evolving.
The case against high school sports is simple: no high school sports means less chance of coronavirus transmittal. With over 8,000 new cases of Covid every day in Los Angeles County alone, opening up programs that have a direct link to covid transmittal seems contradictory to our goal of minimizing covid cases and deaths. As one of the hardest hit counties in America, Los Angeles has to take even more caution when it comes to Covid.
Aside from travel, sports present one of the most obvious sources of transmittal—close quarters and contact—meaning that allowing sports would put students in unnecessary risk. A choice to discontinue high school sports until vaccine distribution is widespread seems like the obvious choice, yet when looking deeper, the holes of the argument begin to emerge.
CIF allowing high school students to play sports might actually promote a safer lifestyle. Currently, many high level athletes are traveling across the country to play tournaments for club teams in sports such as basketball, soccer, and baseball. This large-scale travel is a breeding ground for the spread of Covid, with planes, buses, restaurants and hotels all hotspots for covid.
By allowing CIF sports to resume, they would stop the spread of Covid coming from this large-scale travel, as students wouldn’t be able to play California sports if they have gone outside the state or even traveled for other reasons (as per CIF’s current rules). Allowing local play to resume would deter families from traveling, as it’s much cheaper to go to Smith Field than to book a plane ticket across the country.
Travel aside, as the chaos of this current Covid situation surrounds us, an outlet to get away from that chaos is exactly what so many student-athletes desperately need. Sports are a great escape from financial, school-related, personal, or family stressors, and they shouldn’t be taken away at the time when those very same stressors are wreaking havoc. If college players can play, and workers still go to work, why shouldn’t high school athletes be allowed to do the same?
As petitions from students to resume high school sports gather more and more signatures, the demand is clearly there from the players. As Covid cases have declined significantly in the past few weeks, CIF has continued to loosen their restrictions on when sports can be played, such as their relaxed restrictions on the number of covid cases per a thousand to return, but that simply isn’t enough.
If CIF truly has the interests of those it serves at heart, the decision is simple: resume High school sports and help thousands of students around California.