Here are the rules as YHS kicks off soccer, track, softball, baseball seasons

Bill Choy
Siskiyou Daily News
The Yreka High softball team, during a game in 2019, is expected to begin practices again soon.

Yreka High School announced Saturday they plan to begin full practices so they're ready to compete in boys and girl's soccer, baseball, softball, and track and field.

This follows an announcement on Friday by the State of California that issued a new set of guidelines in relation to youth sports. The California Department of Health loosened guidelines to allow certain outdoor contact sports to be played during the coronavirus pandemic.

Yreka Union High School District Superintendent and Yreka High Principal Mark Greenfield said in a statement, while the new guidelines do not specifically address high school sports, “they do provide us a path to follow.”  

“We are awaiting our Section (NSCIF) to meet and to adopt a schedule to begin competition,” he said. “As a member of CIF, we are obligated to follow their rules, policies and procedures. We cannot simply go out and begin play; we are not a club or an independent organization.” 

The Yreka High junior varsity football team during a home game versus Mount Shasta in 2019. YHS announced there will be no football this season.

Following the state announcement, the YUHSD, in cooperation with other districts, sought and received permission to open up specific outdoor athletic programs from the Public Health Department, Greenfield said.

The school will be closely the following state guidelines.

They are: 

 • Face coverings will be worn by all athletes when not participating (on sidelines or bench) 

 • Face coverings will be worn by coaches, support staff, and observers at all times, and in compliance with the CDPH Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings 

• Spectators must maintain at least 6 feet from non-household members 

• No sharing of drink bottles and other personal items and equipment; 

• Athletes and spectators gathering and mingling with other households prior to and post of any practice or competition will strictly adhere to current gathering guidance 

 • Limit indoor sports activities (practice, conditioning) to comply with capacity limits indicated in current CDPH Gym & Fitness Center Guidance Capacity 

 • Associated indoor activities for the team (e.g., dinners, film study) will be prohibited 

• Teams will not participate in out-of-state games and tournaments 

 • Regular sanitizing of equipment will be implemented 

 • Competitions will be limited to county and regional schools that have been cleared to participate.  

“To protect our athletes and to assure our ability to maintain our programs status, we will be closely monitoring fans and spectators for full compliance,” Greenfield said. “If it becomes necessary, we will exclude individuals or potentially close the activities to spectators. We do not want to do this, but keeping our teams on the field is more important to us than a debate as to someone’s opinion.”

He said athletes with a conflict, due to the overlapping of traditional seasons, will be allowed to play the sports under the CIF Dual Sport Protocols. 

The state allows counties in the purple or red tier to play sports like football if the case rate is at 14 per 100,000 or below, state health officials said on Friday.  

According to the California Blueprint for a Safer Economic as of Tuesday, Siskiyou County experienced 15.6 cases per 100,000 residents. 

Schools around the state, including in Siskiyou County have already begun the cross country season. At YHS, tennis, and golf have begun practicing. 

Greenfield said YHS has decided not to have football, girls and boys basketball, and volleyball this season.  

“Yes, we've decided to move on,” Greenfield told the Daily News on Saturday. “This means those sports are done for the year ... We know indoor sports and high contact sports are going to be slower and more complicated to get approved and get ready for competitions. Then there is the real possibility that despite our desires, even if we try, they would still never be able to compete. By focusing on what we can do, right now, we feel we can offer a higher quality program and athletic experience. Sometimes hard decisions must be made. Realizing what we can and can’t do is important. “ 

He said they are pursuing what they feel is the best path for the athletes and district.  

“We have been waiting for the first opportunity we could viably see to open up our programs,” Greenfield said. “Friday’s shift in state policy offered us this opportunity. While we had planned and prepared for this, the sudden shift in policy is reflective of the constantly changing situation we’ve been dealing with this last year.” 

Greenfield said the districts decision to continue with the sports they have chosen to play this season is “twofold.” 

“First, we believe that, as they are primarily low physical contact sports as well as primarily outdoors, we can better assure student health and safety," Greenfield said. “Second, it was approximately one year ago that all athletics were shut down. Most of these sports have already lost a season to COVID-19. Opening them back now distributes the loss more equally.”  

“With this, everyone (soccer excluded) will have lost one season and no one will have lost two,” he added. 

One reason they decided to have soccer this season is that the sport, in combination with the other sports “allows us to offer the most opportunities to the most students. It also assures our opportunities for female athletes are just as numerous as those for male athletes."Greenfield thanked the Siskiyou Public Health Department “for trusting us to provide a safe and secure environment for our students, our athletes and our community.”