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Santa Cruz COE News

Update on guidance for indoor sports and extracurricular activities

Dear Parents, Educators and Athletics Directors,

Please be advised of recent updates from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) regarding masking requirements for indoor extracurricular activities, including youth sports.

The CDPH updated its K-12 Guidance on November 24, 2021, to state:

  • Masks are required indoors at all times for teachers, referees, officials, coaches, and other support staff.
  • Masks are required indoors for all spectators and observers. 
  • Masks are required indoors at all times when participants are not actively practicing, conditioning, competing, or performing. Masks are also required indoors while on the sidelines, in team meetings, and within locker rooms and weight rooms. 
  • When actively practicing, conditioning, or competing in indoor sports, masks are required by participants even during heavy exertion, as practicable. If masks are not worn due to heavy exertion, it is strongly recommended that individuals undergo screening testing at least once weekly. An FDA-authorized antigen test, PCR test, or pooled PCR test are acceptable for evaluation of an individual’s COVID-19 status. These tests must be performed at school (with Inspire Diagnostics), at a drive-thru clinic, or another CLIA approved location; home-based tests are not acceptable. 
  • Individuals using instruments indoors that cannot be played with a mask (e.g., wind instruments) may perform if bell coverings are used when playing wind instruments AND a minimum of 3 feet of physical distancing is maintained between participants. Modified masking may be considered in addition to, but not in place of, bell covers. If bell covers are not used, it is strongly recommended that individuals undergo screening testing at least once weekly.  An FDA-approved antigen test, PCR test, or pooled PCR test is acceptable for evaluation of an individual’s COVID-19 status.

These guidelines are requirements applying to all extracurricular activities that are operated or supervised by schools, and all activities that occur on a school site, whether or not they occur during school hours. Activities may be performed outdoors without masks.

In some cases, it is possible these guidelines may lead to referees or other individuals opting not to participate in activities. Families and staff should be prepared for the possibility of game cancelations or schedule changes as a result. We are appealing to CDPH to allow referees to work on the court without being required to mask if they participate in weekly surveillance testing. 

To adhere to these requirements, and in case students are unable to mask while on the court due to heavy exertion, all Santa Cruz County Superintendents have made the commitment to test all student athletes of indoor sports weekly

The CDPH’s COVID-19 Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools in California, 2021-22 School Year, may be reviewed in full on the CDPH website. Thank you for your continued attention and diligence as we work to keep our schools and communities safe.

Yours in education and equity,
Santa Cruz County Superintendents

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