Organized youth and adult sports may start in Santa Barbara County with safety modifications outlined in recent state guidance, the Public Health Department stated in a March 3 announcement. The guidance applies to all organized youth and adult sports, including school, community programs, private clubs and leagues. This change is possible because the county’s adjusted case rate dropped below the threshold of 14 new cases per 100,000 cases.

“Youth sports play a critical role for the physical and mental health of our children,” said Dr. Henning Ansorg, Health Officer for the Santa Barbara County Public Health Department. “The updated State guidance includes specific safety requirements for all sports permitted at this time. It includes the use of face coverings by team members and coaches, distancing between non-household members, and limitations on travel for tournaments and weekly testing for certain high-risk sports, like football, rugby and water polo.”

Among the state guidelines in place to assure safety of athletes, families and coaches, there are requirements that must be followed when sports under the Orange Tier and Red Tier lists are played in counties in a more restrictive tier. In addition, for sports permitted to play at this time, parents must be provided information regarding the risk of their minor participating, and parents must sign an informed consent indicating their understanding of these risks. 

The California Interscholastic Foundation (CIF) also issued a statement regarding the return to sports and what it means for CIF member schools like Carpinteria High School. CIF member schools must conduct weekly antigen or PCR testing in the sports of water polo and football when the adjusted case rate of their county is between 14 and 7 per 100,000. Additionally, CIF member schools may also elect to resume all indoor sports, and outdoor sports in counties with an adjusted case rate of greater than 14 per 100,000, if the team adheres to the additional requirements as specified by guidance from the Institutions of Higher Education (IHE).

For more information on the state guidance as well as where sports fall in terms of risk, visit publichealthsbc.org.

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