Sports and Extracurricular Activity Requirements

Dear Families of Santa Cruz County,

The schools of Santa Cruz County will be implementing the guidelines recently published by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and Santa Cruz County Public Health (SCCPH). 

In order to keep our schools open and students healthy, school districts have implemented a wide range of mitigation strategies to minimize risks at our schools, including ongoing testing for COVID-19. We recognize the importance of sports, athletics, music and other extracurricular ideas for students and are hoping these requirements will allow students to participate fully and safely. On September 1, CDPH updated its guidelines for extracurricular activities to add new requirements for sports and music programs. In addition, on September 6, SCCPH released recommendations regarding sports and extracurricular activities.

Effective Monday, September 27, all Santa Cruz County public school districts will be implementing the following requirements:

  • Masks will be required for all persons while playing all indoor sports, unless wearing a mask during play has been determined to pose a choking hazard by a well-recognized health authority, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • Students participating in high risk sports where wearing masks during both competition and practice is not possible will need to be fully vaccinated or participate in weekly testing. These sports include wrestling, water polo, swimming, lacrosse, and football. 
  • Locker rooms should be used only to change or use the restroom. Athletic personnel are instructed not to use the locker rooms for coaching or pregame, halftime or postgame talks. 
  • In team buses, vans, and carpools, masks are required per existing statewide face-covering guidance. The same people should ride together when multiple vehicles are used. Windows should be kept open. Fans should be on high and set to outdoor air.
  • For (1) the playing of musical instruments that cannot be done with a face covering (e.g., wind instruments); or (2) when wearing a mask during play poses a choking hazard, at least one of the following options is required:
    • Conduct these activities outdoors;
    • Use modified face coverings and bell coverings when playing wind and brass instruments, and maintain 6 feet of physical distancing;
    • Perform at least weekly screening testing with either PCR testing (1:1 or pooled PCR) or antigen testing of all individuals, including those who are fully vaccinated
  • All staff who are supporting athletic, music, and extracurricular programs will need to be vaccinated or participate in weekly PCR tests.
  • Students who are exposed to someone with COVID-19 and participating in Modified Quarantine are not able to participate in extracurricular activities during their quarantine period.

We have partnered with Inspire Diagnostics to offer weekly PCR tests for students and staff. Results are generally reported within 24 hours. These testing options will be available to all students whose parents (or they themselves complete) an online consent at

These guidelines will be reevaluated as pandemic conditions change and as we will continue to closely monitor evolving guidance from state and local public health officials.

Yours in education and equity,

Santa Cruz County Superintendents