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CIF postpones return of high school sports until after Jan. 1, 2021

The California Interscholastic Federation announced the postponement in the return of full practice and athletic competition for high schools through at least Jan 1, 2021.

This comes after the California Department of Public Health delayed the issuance of its updated youth sports guidance due to the surge in coronavirus infections and hospitalizations going on across the state.

Governor Gavin Newsom revealed on Monday that hospitalizations have increased by 89% over the past two weeks. Projections show that the number of hospitalizations could double or triple within a month, based on the surging case numbers over the past two weeks.

More Details: Gov. Newsom warns of stay-at-home order if surge continues at current rate

CIF officials said they don't expect the CDPH to issue any guidance allowing for schools to return to full practice and competition until after Jan 1. The organization put a hold on all full practice and competition start dates until updated guidance is released.

An email from CIF Southern Section Commissioner of Athletics Rob Wigod reveals that the section was working with CDPH on a plan for the return of education-based sports. The plan developed by the CIF Sports Medicine Advisory Committee included a proposal to tie play and practice to the state's four-colored tier system.

The plan was submitted and CIF officials expected a response a few weeks ago but they didn't hear back as the November surge continued to worsen. The signs for the return of local sports weren't great after the CIF Southern Section, which covers the valley's high schools, closed its offices on Nov. 16.

The decision will affect the CIF's 10 sections, which includes 1,605 member schools, and more than 800,000 student-athletes.

"The CIF is confident this decision is a necessary and reasonable action for our member schools, student-athletes, and school communities in light of the current statewide crisis," reads a statement by CIF officials. "This revision to the CIF State 2020-21 Season 1 Sports calendar offers our Sections and Leagues the flexibility and needed time to plan for the return to practice and competition once updated guidance is provided by the CDPH."

In an effort to allow these student-athletes the best opportunity to compete in Season 1 Sports, the CIF State Office is removing all Regional and State Championship events from the Season 1 calendar. This will give more student-athletes the opportunity to take part in a longer season once competition is allowed to return.

According to Wigod, sports championships make up approximately 60% of the southern section's budgeted income. Officials project the final profit and projected loss for fiscal 2020-21 is $275,000, but that could loss could grow as large as $600,000 to $700,000.

The boys' volleyball season was moved to Season 2 to prevent the loss a second full season for student-athletes. The updated Season 2 sports calendar will be released in January.

Wigod added that the Southern Section will continue to try to move forward with cross country, volleyball, water polo, and football.

"Where we are now is not as important as where we are on December 15, 2020, January 4, 2021, or January 15, 2021," Wigod wrote. "In the time we have before the new year and into the new year, we must strive to make progress within our Southern Section footprint to have the opportunity to play when the time comes."

Stay up-to-date with the latest local coronavirus news, including reopenings and closing, new case data, live news conferences, and other updates at KESQ.com/Coronavirus or download the News Channel 3 app on the Apple Store and Google Play.

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