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Section eliminates dead period
Ruben Valenzuela
Central Valley and Ceres High student-athletes started preparing for the upcoming fall sports season three weeks ago with summer conditioning drills. Pictured: Hawk football player Ruben Valenzuela. - photo by Dale Butler

The landscape of high school athletics has changed due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The Sac-Joaquin Section eliminated the fall sports dead period for 2020 on June 22.

According to SJS bylaw 504.8, “During a Sac-Joaquin Section dead period (preseason and end-of-season), no member of the coaching staff (paid or volunteer) may have any contact with his/her athletes and use the sports equipment for their given sport. Weight training and conditioning are the only activities that will be allowed during these periods. Coaches may be present during weight training and conditioning.”

“If school athletic programs are able to practice, they can use summer rules until the start of the sports season,” the section website stated. “We are hopeful the season will begin on time, with the first practice for football on July 27 and for the remaining fall sports on August 3.”

“It’s not surprising or a big deal,” Central Valley High School Athletic Director Greg Magni said. “We still can’t use equipment or go inside. It just gives us an extra week to keep doing things we’ve been doing already. All we can do is condition.”

Student-athletes from Central Valley and Ceres High started summer conditioning workouts on June 15 with COVID-19 safety measures in place.

They’re following physical activity/training guidelines released by the California Interscholastic Federation. The CIF governs high school athletes in the state.

“We’re following the rules and hoping we can move into the next phase,” Magni said.

The CIF will decide on July 20 if fall sports will continue as currently scheduled or if adjustments will be made.

The fall sports lineup includes: football, cross country, water polo, girls golf, girls tennis and girls volleyball.

The CIF’s 201 member schools compete in 26 different leagues.

“We continue to keep watch on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic situation,” CIF stated in a release on its website. “We want high school sports to return in a safe way. Our schools and school districts, in consultation with county and state health authorities will be making the decision when to start practices and sporting events. Once schools begin, we will be able to provide a calendar. At the moment, we are anticipating a normal start to the fall calendar. It is our intent to provide all three seasons of sport for our member schools for the 2020-21 school year.”