Return To Play Guidance Delayed Amid COVID Surge

Release of California's return to play guidelines for high school and youth sports will be delayed, Governor Gavin Newsom said Monday during a teleconference where he discussed the state's recent surge in COVID-19 cases that resulted in 41 of CA's 58 counties now in the most restrictive tier. 

Counties in purple, the most restrictive of the four colored tiers, jumped from 13 a week ago to 41 on Monday. Red, the second-most restrictive tier, now has 11 counties.  

Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary for the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), had been indicating for a few weeks that return to play guidelines would be coming. Newsom (pictured above) said Monday that he had "signed off" on the updated guidelines but "now look to potentially pause it."

"The timing right now with case rates going up very quickly," Ghaly (pictured below) said. "Timing is everything with this. We want to make sure we move forward with something as important as youth sports, we do it with eyes in front of us, and hoping that we set it up for success so we don't have to pause it or stop it down the road."

The Southern Section calendar currently lists the first practice date for football as Dec. 14 and the first contest date for cross country as Dec. 26.

The CIF State office released the following statement, referencing that Newsom and Ghaly "disclosed that the release of updated youth sports guidance has been postponed. Therefore, the current guidance remains in effect, and CIF competitions are not allowed until new guidance is provided."