Seeking long-awaited answers about high school sports


Students and parents attending the livestream expressed frustration in the chat bar provided, many with the slogan #letusplay. Photo from: Live press conference on Jan. 19, 2021

Livia Vertucci

What the spring season might look like.

Ten months into staying at home due to the Coronavirus pandemic, VHS student-athletes, coaches and supporters are anxious about getting back to their sports. The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Southern Section Commissioner, Rob Wigod, provided updated information regarding Fall 2021 sports and playoffs, as well as answered questions from the media on a live Youtube broadcast. 

The broadcast started at 1 p.m. on Jan. 19, 2021, and had 4,791 views and many live comments from students and parents in the Southern Section region. Wigod began by announcing the official cancellation of the fall sports championships. In addition, league play will not be permitted, which is necessary for the section championship. Sports that will be affected by this announcement are boys and girls cross country, eight-man football, eleven-man football, girls volleyball, boys and girls water polo.

California is using a four-tier, color-coded system to track the COVID-19 cases recorded in each county. The Purple tier means that the virus is widespread around the county, red meaning substantial spread, orange meaning moderate spread and yellow indicating minimal spread.

Map depicting the different tier levels and which sports will be able to play. Graphic from: @cifss on Instagram

Currently, Ventura is in the purple tier. According to the CIF’s Education-Based Athletics COVID-19 Modifications Guideline, cross country, golf, swimming, diving, tennis and track and field are sports that are able to practice in the Purple tier. As counties move into the lower tiers, more sports will be able to open up.

As for spring sports, CIF remains on schedule and ready to go once we move out of the Purple tier. VHS student-athletes, like sophomore Morgan Hirschhorn, are conflicted about going back to practice under current conditions, “No we have not [had a chance to practice this year] and I feel a little uncomfortable because we should all respect the rules and the precautions we have to follow. I think it will be over, hopefully in a year, or once everyone is able to get vaccinated.” As a student-athlete on the VHS golf team, Hirschhorn along with many others have not gotten the chance to practice or compete with her team. 

One student who has gotten the opportunity to practice is senior cross country runner Xavier Terminello, “I’ve been lucky enough to practice in small pods with my team, although since the holidays we have not been holding official practice due to the surge in Covid cases.” The cross country team has been able to practice, even while in the Purple tier. Runners sign-up to join a fourteen-person pod and at each practice, they provide documentation of the absence of symptoms. Wearing masks is mandatory, before and directly after they finish working out, and physical distancing is maintained. “I would be stoked to be able to come back in the last couple of months and be able to practice with my team if the opportunity arises,” stated Terminello. When asked about the risks of going back, Terminello responded, “It’s looking more and more like we won’t be able to and that’s not a problem because sports will never be more important than people’s lives.” 

One question raised by many chat participants was whether or not football will be able to practice and play this spring. Along with soccer, volleyball and basketball, football is not eligible to hold practices or games. For football and other sports to gather and play, the county needs to be in the Orange tier for at least two weeks. At the moment, the only thing these athletes can do is workout independently, stay home and stay safe. Public health officials say the best thing we can do is stay home, wear masks and work together to slow the spread of COVID-19.