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October 23, 2020

School athletics can begin conditioning

WATSONVILLE—The Pajaro Valley Unified School District came one step closer to bring back athletics for its students by releasing a set of guidelines for summer conditioning, which can begin as early as next week. 

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Athletic conditioning and workouts will be permitted beginning the week of July 6, according to a letter dated June 26 that was signed by PVUSD Superintendent Michelle Rodriguez. The guidelines apply to PVUSD along with three other Santa Cruz County K-12 school districts: Santa Cruz City Schools, Scotts Valley Unified and San Lorenzo Valley Unified.

“As conditions change we are flexing with that,” Rodriguez said. “We know that the more that students can be engaged safely with each other and with caring adults the better.” 

The County of Santa Cruz Health Services Agency collaborated with the Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League and California Interscholastic Federation to develop guidelines for athletics summer conditioning.

Rodriguez said they brought the guidelines to Santa Cruz County Health Officer Gail Newel, who approved the document.

The document states all coaches must provide a health screening plan and sanitation protocol before conditioning sessions may begin. Summer conditioning will be optional and no coach will be explicitly or implicitly required to offer conditioning sessions.

Coaches are required to wear face coverings at all times, while student-athletes should wear face coverings to and from practice and when they’re not able to physically distance themselves six feet apart.

Workouts will be designed for cohorts of 12 students at one time per sports program and coaches will only be allowed to work with one cohort.

“We trained people on the guidelines and we trained people on the temperature taking to already start Monday,” she said.

Watsonville High School football coach Anthony Valdivia said he’s happy to be able to do any sort of athletic activity after spring ball was canceled.

“Obviously the Covid-19 situation hasn’t been ideal for any of us but just the fact that we can get our kids off the couch and away from Netflix and back on the field running around is one step in the direction that we all want to try to get to,” he said.

Student-athletes cannot share a ball or equipment of any kind during workouts. The weight room and other indoor facilities will also not be available.

Swimmers must swim in single lanes and runners must run in single lanes with a six-foot distance in between them.

Rodriguez said that as health restrictions continue to change it allows them to do more things.

“I think that these guidelines present a win-win,” she said. “A win in that we’re able to enter that athlete into conditioning and starting to engage with their team. But also a win in the health front because we’re entering guidelines that keep them safe.” 

Valdivia said he knows that it’s all about keeping students and their families safe. He said if football and other sports get canceled because it’s too high of a risk of contracting Covid-19, then so be it.

“But I pray that we all get to go and we all get to have our sports,” Valdivia said.

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