Fohi water polo

Jonathan Zubiate of Fontana High School's water polo team gets ready to score a goal during a game in the fall of 2019.  The CIF will determine by July 20 whether fall sports for 2020-2021 (including water polo) will take place as currently scheduled or will have to be delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) will be determining by July 20 if fall sports for high school athletes in the state will take place as currently scheduled.

The state's CIF office made this announcement in a news release on June 12 discussing the concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

The state office will be collaborating with its 10 sections (including the CIF Southern Section) on decisions which will affect the calendar year as it had been originally planned.

"The CIF is prepared to offer alternative calendars if it is determined by July 20 that fall sports may not start as scheduled due to ongoing public health and safety concerns," the state office said in a statement.

Fall sports traditionally begin in August with practice sessions and include football, cross country, girls' volleyball, and boys' water polo.

The CIF said it believes that "education-based athletics and all co-curricular activities are essential to the physical, mental, and social well-being of students and realizes the impact and challenges that COVID-19 has caused for our member schools and education-based athletics."

The CIF is continuing to monitor the directives and guidelines released from Gov. Gavin Newsom's office, the California Department of Education, and state and local county health departments and agencies as these directives and guidelines are followed by member schools/school district when they are planning when and how to reopen school this fall.

The Fontana Unified School District is scheduled to begin the 2020-2021 school year in early August. However, while schools are being allowed to open under certain conditions, athletic activities for youth are still not permitted by the state.

"In anticipation of our student-athletes' return to physical activity, the CIF is providing several resources to assist our member schools and student-athletes while recognizing our obligation to the health and safety of all involved," the CIF said.

These resources include:

• CIF return to physical activity/training guidelines

This document is intended to provide guidance for CIF member schools to consider with their stakeholders in designing return-to-activity protocols in accordance with state and county restrictions. It allows for a coordinated reopening following the initial stay at home orders and may also be used if conditions dictate the need for increased restrictions in the future.

• Physical examination waiver

In order to address the impact that the COVID-19 virus and school closures have had on students, and in recognition that families may experience delays in obtaining appointments for their student for a pre-participation physical examination, governing boards of school districts and private schools may elect to provide a one-time, temporary waiver of Bylaw 503.G. This waiver will allow the student-athlete to participate in athletics for a maximum of 30 calendar days from their school's first day of practice in that sport. This waiver only applies to CIF sanctioned fall 2020 sports.

• Financial hardship waiver

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 virus, and the resulting financial impact on many families, a waiver of Bylaw 207 may be granted for a student who transfers to a new school during the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year when there is a demonstrated and verifiable hardship condition due to financial difficulties.

"As we look to the upcoming 2020-2021 school year and sports seasons, our main priority remains everyone's ongoing health and safety during this challenging time," the CIF said.

----- IN A SEPARATE ANNOUNCEMENT, the CIF Southern Section emphasized that decisions will be made on a local level.

Rob Wigod, the CIF Southern Section commissioner, said that the CIF is "totally committed" to having fall, winter, and spring sports during the 2020-2021 school year.

"I want to remind you that the decisions to reopen our schools, and subsequently bring back athletic programs after they have started their academic year, will be made entirely by each local superintendent/school board from a public school district or each private school head of school/school board who have the authority to make those decisions," Wigod said. "I am sure they will follow the recommendations of state and local health authorities in arriving at the decisions that are in the best interests of their students and school communities."

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