The Kaiser High School football team is pictured in action against Aquinas in a game in 2019.  The CIF announced that prep football competition could begin soon, but only if counties reach a certain threshold in coronavirus case rates.

If progress continues to be made in the fight against the coronavirus, there will be a possibility that the long-delayed prep sports seasons may soon be able to take place.

The CIF Southern Section on Feb. 19 received information from Gov. Gavin Newsom's office and the California Department of Public Health regarding the return to play for outdoor sports such as football and water polo, based on the factor of each county's adjusted case rate for COVID-19 per 100,000 people.

The threshold for outdoor sports to begin competition will be 14 cases or lower per 100,000 people as of Friday, Feb. 26, the CIF said.

As of Feb. 16, the case rates for all of the counties covered by the CIF Southern Section are all above that allowed limit. However, cases have been declining steadily during the past month and eventually the threshold could be met if current trends continue.

San Bernardino County's case rate was 24.2 per 100,000, while Riverside County was 28.8, Los Angeles County was 20.0, and Orange County was 20.7, the CIF said in a news release.

The information on each county's adjusted case rate is released weekly each Tuesday at this website: www.covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy/

"We will look forward to these numbers decreasing when they are published again on Tuesday, Feb. 23," the CIF said.

Once San Bernardino County reaches the required threshold, sports traditionally which take place outdoors in the fall -- football and water polo -- can start competition, provided the required COVID-19 testing mandated by state health officials is done.

----- FOR FOOTBALL, various scenarios were unveiled by the CIF:

• If a county reaches the 14 case per 100,000 residents threshold by Feb. 23, then conditioning could begin that day, practicing in full pads could begin on Feb. 26, a scrimmage could be held on March 6, and the first game could be held either March 11, 12, or 13.

• If a county reaches the necessary threshold by March 2, then conditioning could begin that day, practicing in full pads could start on March 5, a scrimmage could be held on March 13, and the first game could take place either March 18, 19, or 20.

• If a county reaches the threshold by March 9, then conditioning could start that day, practicing in full pads could commence on March 12, a scrimmage could occur on March 20, and the first game could be held on either March 25, 26, or 27.

"If schools reach the required threshold after the dates and scenarios listed above, they still have the option to play three games, two games, or one game, if they wish to do so, provided they follow CIF bylaws mandating a minimum of 10 days of practice prior to participating in an interscholastic scrimmage and a minimum of 14 days of practice prior to their first contest," the CIF said, adding that the season must end by April 17.

Once a county reaches the 14 cases or lower limit, boys' and girls' water polo can begin competition Feb. 26, and the season will end on March 20.

----- IN ADDITION, once the county reaches the threshold, spring sports can also begin. These sports are girls' tennis (can begin on Feb. 22), boys' and girls' soccer (Feb. 27), boys' tennis (March 1), boys' and girls' swimming (March 13), baseball (March 19), softball (March 19), and boys' and girls' track and field (March 20).

Plus, sports which are normally played indoors may possibly be played outdoors if the threshold is achieved, the CIF said. These sports include girls' volleyball (Feb. 26), traditional competitive cheer (immediately, if done virtually), boys' and girls' basketball (March 12), boys' volleyball (March 13), and competitive sport cheer (March 27).

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