News

High schools to resume in-person, outdoors-only sports practices

Students to work out in stable cohorts of 14 or fewer

Gunn High School football coach Jason Miller directs football practice drills in 2018. Photo by Adam Pardee.

Starting Monday, Sept. 14, Palo Alto and Gunn high school student-athletes will be able to return to their campuses for in-person practices with numerous health and safety precautions.

"While the restart is an ongoing process, we are excited at the chance to get back to doing what we love: working with your children," athletic directors Curt Johansen and Nelson Gifford wrote in a message posted on the school websites on Thursday, Sept. 3.

All workouts will take place outdoors; indoor facilities, including locker rooms, will be closed.

Student-athletes will practice in stable cohorts of 14 students or fewer. Once a student is part of a cohort, they cannot join another group for three weeks after leaving the first cohort, the athletic directors said. Students can participate in multiple team workouts as long as they stay within the same group.

Athletes within a cohort can't share equipment, and any equipment that's used must be cleaned afterward. Students within a cohort must keep 6 feet apart and groups should be at least 25 feet apart.

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Cohorts will be assigned a time and location for their workouts. Once assigned, students cannot change their group.

"Switching or mixing groups is prohibited," the athletic directors wrote.

Every student and coach will also be screened by filling out a form on their smart device or with their coach.

"This will ensure that everyone attending workouts is healthy and safe. If a student(s) is not feeling well, they should not attend practice — contact your coach and/or trainer to let them know of your condition," Johansen and Gifford said.

Coaches must wear a mask while they are working with student-athletes, while students must wear masks to and from practice but not during workouts. Every student must bring their own water bottle.

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Practice times and locations will be posted on the high schools' athletics websites.

The athletic directors urged students "to refrain from socializing on campus before or after workouts. While we understand it will be very natural for our students and coaches to want to bond and share, it is important that we all do our part to ensure our return to play is both fun and safe."

The California Interscholastic Federation announced this summer that local high school sports teams won't be competing until at least December or January, releasing a modified season that pushes section playoffs for several sports, including football, water polo, basketball and baseball, into spring and summer of 2021.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

Follow Palo Alto Online and the Palo Alto Weekly on Twitter @paloaltoweekly, Facebook and on Instagram @paloaltoonline for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

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High schools to resume in-person, outdoors-only sports practices

Students to work out in stable cohorts of 14 or fewer

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Fri, Sep 4, 2020, 8:54 am

Starting Monday, Sept. 14, Palo Alto and Gunn high school student-athletes will be able to return to their campuses for in-person practices with numerous health and safety precautions.

"While the restart is an ongoing process, we are excited at the chance to get back to doing what we love: working with your children," athletic directors Curt Johansen and Nelson Gifford wrote in a message posted on the school websites on Thursday, Sept. 3.

All workouts will take place outdoors; indoor facilities, including locker rooms, will be closed.

Student-athletes will practice in stable cohorts of 14 students or fewer. Once a student is part of a cohort, they cannot join another group for three weeks after leaving the first cohort, the athletic directors said. Students can participate in multiple team workouts as long as they stay within the same group.

Athletes within a cohort can't share equipment, and any equipment that's used must be cleaned afterward. Students within a cohort must keep 6 feet apart and groups should be at least 25 feet apart.

Cohorts will be assigned a time and location for their workouts. Once assigned, students cannot change their group.

"Switching or mixing groups is prohibited," the athletic directors wrote.

Every student and coach will also be screened by filling out a form on their smart device or with their coach.

"This will ensure that everyone attending workouts is healthy and safe. If a student(s) is not feeling well, they should not attend practice — contact your coach and/or trainer to let them know of your condition," Johansen and Gifford said.

Coaches must wear a mask while they are working with student-athletes, while students must wear masks to and from practice but not during workouts. Every student must bring their own water bottle.

Practice times and locations will be posted on the high schools' athletics websites.

The athletic directors urged students "to refrain from socializing on campus before or after workouts. While we understand it will be very natural for our students and coaches to want to bond and share, it is important that we all do our part to ensure our return to play is both fun and safe."

The California Interscholastic Federation announced this summer that local high school sports teams won't be competing until at least December or January, releasing a modified season that pushes section playoffs for several sports, including football, water polo, basketball and baseball, into spring and summer of 2021.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

Comments

Staying Young Through Kids
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Sep 4, 2020 at 10:15 am
Staying Young Through Kids, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Sep 4, 2020 at 10:15 am
18 people like this

This is GREAT news for SOME of our HS kids. What about the rest of our 11,000 students?

I hope PAUSD plans similar programs to be offered after school @ the Elementary and Middle School level.

Will Gunn and Paly be restricting access to only the 14 students chosen by the coach based on ability? None of these "activities" are competitive at this point. It's not "sport" it's exercise and conditioning. Hopefully this will be open to all?

I'm sure there are a great many parents who would like to see their kids involved in this kind of safe activity to get exercise and se friends. A lot more interest than just 14 per sport and gender.

If there is more interest than availability I assume some form of lottery be used to select who is invited to participate?

Encouraging a lifetime healthy, physical activity doesn't revolve around competitive sports (although I do agree they do help in many ways). Please PAUSD provide this access to all students, not just the ones who can throw the fastball, return the kickoff, or hit the three.


Kathy
Registered user
Evergreen Park
on Sep 4, 2020 at 10:30 am
Kathy, Evergreen Park
Registered user
on Sep 4, 2020 at 10:30 am
29 people like this

If PAUSD can do school sports outdoors, and if child care centers can be open for business indoors, why can't in person instruction be offered outdoors or even indoors with safety precautions? The teachers union?

And what about all the other schools applying for waivers for in-person instruction for TK-5? Los Altos school district and Bullis charter are applying for waivers. Why not PAUSD? The teachers'union?


Paly Teacher
Registered user
Palo Alto High School
on Sep 4, 2020 at 10:59 am
Paly Teacher, Palo Alto High School
Registered user
on Sep 4, 2020 at 10:59 am
11 people like this

@Kathy who said "why can't in person instruction be offered outdoors or even indoors with safety precautions?" Indoors has been addressed several times in many ways. Outdoors is even easier. What if a student has allergies? What if it suddenly starts raining. Classes will be cancelled as students scramble back home for online classes as teachers do the same to teach them. Students could get sick for being in the cold. Students could get dizzy from overexposure to the sun. Are you as a taxpayer ready to pay for mobile whiteboards, or are you advocating against November's parcel tax? How about paying for a few hundred tents?

Do you actually want answers to your question or are you just looking for new ways to make teachers and our union look bad?


Options
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Sep 4, 2020 at 11:42 am
Options, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Sep 4, 2020 at 11:42 am
15 people like this

@Paly teacher, there are lots of uncertainty in life. We need to be smart to deal with things especially now. There should be options for families: online or in person learning(at least hybid).


S. Underwood
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Sep 5, 2020 at 4:50 am
S. Underwood, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Sep 5, 2020 at 4:50 am
15 people like this

Can we label reading, writing, and math as sports, and requisition some of these coaches to coach kids in person for those? Outdoors with small groups, precautions, and health checks sounds great.

The new and expensive football field is turf, so allergies shouldn't be such a problem. Practices sometimes get cancelled. I think families will understand and accept that.


PA family
Registered user
Evergreen Park
on Sep 5, 2020 at 6:09 am
PA family, Evergreen Park
Registered user
on Sep 5, 2020 at 6:09 am
10 people like this

Most current Paly athletes have not been notified about this change. Does this only apply to football? Girls volleyball and girls field hockey players have yet to receive any details. What about sports other than football? Conditioning is important for all athletes. And, agree with the post above, that all kids need exercise after Zooming in their rooms for 6 hours each day (followed by hours of online homework). Let’s try to get a variety of kids out there if possible. Looking forward to hearing more next week (I hope).


YP
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Sep 5, 2020 at 7:29 pm
YP, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Sep 5, 2020 at 7:29 pm
14 people like this

wow , comment from Paly Teacher makes me depressed. Do you really think you can go through life with no risks. Rain, dizziness , cold . Ok but how about some concern for the mental health of our young people.


Anonymous
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 5, 2020 at 8:31 pm
Anonymous, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Sep 5, 2020 at 8:31 pm
5 people like this

I read the other day that Pac 12 League college football plans to start, and this was stated: with (thousands of) rapid tests. Outrageous - for example, UC Berkeley has something like 1/7 of typical freshmen welcomed recently on campus and they are very isolated.
Meantime, their football team (and Stanford, etc.) will practice, play and travel!? I particularly disagree with this usage of Covid tests, much less prioritization of college football in a Pandemic. I guess the coaches, managers, staff, water persons, trainers, travel arrangers, etc., etc. will all get rapid tests (and maybe their girlfriends, roommates, families?) Seems like adding an unnecessary risk to the general public in the Pac 12 region - while it remains tough for general public to undergo tests (much less REPEATEDLY).
The mission of colleges/universities is education and research. College football is an add-on activity.
More relevant to this thread,
I prefer rapid tests go to public school districts/schools, travelers at our commercial airports, etc.
Yes, I have written one politician so far and received a good response.
We should try hard to open our schools.


Samuel L
Registered user
Evergreen Park
on Sep 5, 2020 at 9:34 pm
Samuel L, Evergreen Park
Registered user
on Sep 5, 2020 at 9:34 pm
15 people like this

@ Paly Teacher - I was just in Idaho earlier this week and saw at least three classes of high school aged kids at a local park having class outside. I heard one teacher with a microphone system holding a Spanish class. I spoke w one of the kids in another group and she told me it was her history class.

It's possible

Always easy to find reasons NOT to do something.


Facts and Figures
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 5, 2020 at 10:30 pm
Facts and Figures, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Sep 5, 2020 at 10:30 pm
5 people like this

@Samuel L

Thank you.

We cannot wait to be in the red zone for K-6. Even though Palo Alto's numbers are very low, Southeast County's numbers remain high. At a minimum, PAUSD should apply for a K-6 waiver as soon as possible.



Jim H
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 6, 2020 at 8:45 am
Jim H, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Sep 6, 2020 at 8:45 am
7 people like this

@Paly Teacher - the teachersy union doesn't need anyone's help to make it look bad. They do a pretty good job on their own.


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