Orange Tier Sports Commence with Updated Safety Precautions

Orange tier sports were approved to begin their seasons after Contra Costa County moved into the orange tier on April 7.

Due to their high-contact and outdoor nature, football, boys’ lacrosse, soccer, and water polo are all classified as orange tier sports. However, the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) has permitted outdoor orange tier sports to resume competition regardless of their county’s status. Thus, the starting dates of orange tier sports have varied: football and boys’ soccer began on March 1, water polo on March 29, and boys’ lacrosse, girls’ soccer, and baseball on April 5.

Since there are only 2 months remaining in the school year for sports teams to compete, the district has approved athletes to participate in 2 Campo sports at the same time.

Boys’ water polo head coach Miles Price encourages all athletes to participate in water polo in addition to any other sports that they’re interested in playing this spring.

“We have a few multi-sport athletes that will be juggling polo with wrestling, baseball, and a few others. We will not be cutting any players, we view this season as an opportunity to enjoy some sort of normal and participate with friends,” says Price.

Additionally, girls’ basketball, a yellow tier sport, is now holding camps twice a week in preparation for the start of its season whose date is to be determined.

While nearly all sports have resumed, this year’s seasons are still far from normal due to COVID-19.

Face coverings must be worn by athletes during practice, conditioning, and during competition. With exertion, face coverings can be removed if physical distancing can be maintained. Coaches will provide further guidance under the direction of the athletic director regarding times when athletes may remove face coverings.

Face coverings must also be worn by coaches, support staff, and observers at all times as well. Football players should wear their masks as much as possible but can be unmasked with helmets. Swimmers must keep a mask on at all times but may remove it only when they are about to get in the pool.

A negative COVID-19 test is required 48 hours before a competition for indoor sports athletes. Football players and coaches must provide a negative COVID-19 test each week. Additionally, football and water polo players must be tested at any time the county falls into the adjusted case rate of 7-14 per 100,000.

“This is a very unusual season and we are all doing our best to make it as safe as possible while creating a competitive league and season the team can participate in,” says Price.

According to freshman swimmer Emilia Barck, “There are obvious physical differences in camp structure and social distancing in the practice layout in order to follow COVID-19 guidelines.”

Despite the new safety regulations, athletes are excited to finally play their sport again.

“My favorite thing about swimming is the amazing and supportive community, everyone pushes each other to improve,” says Barck.

“We’re excited we get the chance to have a season and will do our best to keep the athletes safe. We still plan to win as many games as possible and be the best in the league and the state,” says Price.