PUBLISHED: June 9, 2020 at 4:27 p.m. | UPDATED: June 10, 2020 at 8:33 a.m.
It will be strange. But at least it’s something.
That’s how one football coach in the Capistrano Unified School District viewed the announcement this week that teams can begin limited practices on July 6.
The announcement from the CUSD on Monday stated that teams will have to follow the guidelines made by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) for workouts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Irvine Unified School District high schools also can begin preseason workouts July 6.
As IUSD athletic director Mark Cunningham wrote, “While guidelines for opening schools from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and the California Department of Education (CDE) were released this past Friday and Monday, the Orange County Health Agency (OCHA) guidelines have yet to be released. To allow sufficient time to review the forthcoming guidance from OCHA and implement new safety protocols, we are moving the start date for our athletic camps to July 6th.”
IUSD high schools that participate in CIF-Southern Section sports are Irvine, Northwood, Portola, University and Woodbridge.
The NFHS guidelines, which were released in May, state that in “Phase 1” of a return to sports that social distancing should be maintained and team workouts limited to small groups.
The Capistrano Unified School District includes six high schools that play CIF-SS sports — Aliso Niguel, Capistrano Valley, Dana Hills, San Clemente, San Juan Hills and Tesoro.
San Clemente coach Jaime Ortiz is excited and relieved that a starting date has been set.
“Our district worked hard to do something for our athletes,” Ortiz said. “It’s going to be great to get everyone together and to have some sense of normalcy.”
Area school districts shut down all sports activities in mid-March during the outbreak of COVID-19.
Tesoro coach Matt Poston said practices will be limited to conditioning.
“As I understand it,” Poston said, “we’ll be working in groups of 10 with one of those 10 being a coach, and there must be a 15-minute waiting period between groups. If you have one field you can only have one group of 10 on that field.”
Poston explained that it would be something like nine defensive backs working with their position coach and after the 15-minute break nine defensive linemen working with their position coach.
“Of course, this is all tentative,” Ortiz said. “Some fine tuning is going to happen. Maybe they will increase or decrease the number of athletes we can have out there.”
“It’s a slow start,” Poston said. “But at least it’s a start.”