The California Interscholastic Federation announced Monday that high school sports won't begin in the state until at least December because of COVID-19, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The announcement delays football, girls volleyball, cross country, boys water polo, girls golf, girls tennis, and field hockey until the winter or spring.
"This is the best possible plan we have with what's going on to give students an opportunity to participate," Vicky Lagos, commissioner of the Los Angeles City Section, said, according to the Times. "There are going to be issues in terms of facilities and multiple-sport athletes, but this is the best scenario for the most people. I have confidence the schools and coaches will work it out among themselves. My take from coaches is they want the opportunity to participate and be with the kids."
The new calendar means the football season will end in April, and basketball, baseball, and softball will all be concluding postseason championships in mid- to late-June.
The schedule will create numerous complications for athletes who are usually able to participate in multiple sports with little overlap or conflict, such as football and basketball, or football and track, for example. Coaches who are normally able to coach both boys and girls volleyball will have to make other arrangements.
Most California schools will start the academic year with online instruction, until they meet the strict guidelines set by Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) that would allow them to reopen for in-person classes. Schools can't reopen in-person until their county has been off of a statewide monitoring list for rising COVID-19 infections for 14 days.
Currently, 31 out of California's 58 counties are on the monitoring list, leaving a majority of schools without the option to hold classes in-person to start the year.
Whenever schools can reopen in California, students third grade and above will be required to wear masks, and younger students will be encouraged, but not required, to wear a face covering of some kind.
Schools that have more than 5% of students sick will be forced to close, and districts with 25% or more schools closed within a two-week period will be forced to shut down.
The state reportedly is better prepared for online instruction than it was in the spring, when teachers were overwhelmed by the challenge of balancing their own home lives with teaching students through an unfamiliar method, and when some students didn't have access to the technology necessary to participate.