Return to play: New state guidelines pave way for student-athletes to compete
After nearly a year away from courts and fields, student-athletes in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District have been cleared to return to competition.
Last Friday, the California Department of Public Health issued updated guidance for youth and recreational sports, allowing for many high school sports programs to begin practicing today.
Under new guidelines, teams are not allowed to participate in out-of-state games and tournaments, which wouldn’t allow for Truckee and North Tahoe to compete in their traditional leagues within the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association.
“This adds challenges to (Tahoe Truckee Unified School District) since our students traditionally compete in multiple counties and states,” said the district in its latest sports update. “Our legal counsel is currently in the process of challenging the state line travel mandate directly with the (California Department of Public Health) on our behalf.”
While a return to sports marks a positive step forward for student-athletes, limiting competition to counties that neighbor Placer and Nevada counties presents another set of challenges as teams may be relegated to playing schools with larger student bodies. Not playing within the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association also leaves programs without a guaranteed schedule, and, logistically, could present additional obstacles in getting to and from games during winter months.
“In Truckee, it’s safer for us COVID-wise to go towards Reno, not the other way,” said Truckee Football Coach Josh Ivens. “We don’t interact with people on the other side of the summit … out of state travel, I get it, but it’s right here. It’s local to us.”
Under updated guidelines from the state, high-contact sports like football and soccer can be played in counties that are in the purple or red tier, so long as the adjusted COVID-19 case rate is equal to or less than 14 per 100,0000 people. For football, according to state guidelines, coaches and players that are age 13 and over are to be tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis. Testing will be made available at the school district’s testing center at Rideout.
Other general requirements mandate that face coverings be worn at all times when not participating in an activity, no equipment is to be shared, and team activities like dinners and film study sessions are prohibited.
Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-550-2643.
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