CIF to Extend the Winter Sports Season One Week Due to COVID-19

Polina Asaulyuk, News Editor

CIF Los Angeles City Section announced they will extend the winter sports season one week to accommodate for disruptions caused by COVID-19 at the beginning of the winter semester. 

Earlier last week, California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Los Angeles city section issued a statement saying they will extend the winter sports season one week in order to provide the member schools with an opportunity to reschedule games that were postponed at the beginning of the semester. 

In addition, the extension of the winter season and playoffs will allow for a more flexible schedule in case more sports games are to be postponed amid COVID-19 uncertainty. 

“In an effort to provide our member schools more time to re-schedule postponed league contests or the possibility of having to reschedule future contests due to COVID and the recent pause in LAUSD athletics,” the statement said, “the CIF Los Angeles City Section Executive Committee decided today to extend the regular season and delay the beginning of the playoffs for one additional week.”

With a one-week extension, Venice High teams will be able to complete the entire regular season without having to miss any of the games that were canceled during the first two weeks of school. 

According to Assistant Principal Richard Valerio, the school is currently working on coming up with the exact schedule for the make-up games. The new schedule will include all of the games that were canceled during the first week of school as well as the singular games canceled during the second week of the semester.

“Sports are back,” he said. “We’re currently working on the schedule to make up for all of the postponed games from the first and second weeks of school.”

All indoor sports and activities  — including games, practice, and indoor PE classes — were canceled by LAUSD amid the surge of COVID-19 cases throughout the district for the first week of the winter semester. 

LAUSD resumed all indoor sports activities after the first week of school with only singular games being postponed during the second week of the semester. 

Boys’ basketball coach David Galley said that the school district wasn’t feeling comfortable with the amount of COVID-19 cases across LA Unified at the time of students returning to school from winter break. The infection rate had reached well above 10 percent district-wide among the students and staff at the start of January. 

“About 60,000 people tested positive,” he said. “That’s across the students and the staff of the district. It was right around a 13 percent positivity rate.” 

Principal Cynthia Headrick said LAUSD’s decision to cancel sports for the first week of school was an attempt at a smoother transition back from the long winter break at the time of rapid increase in COVID-19 infections. 

“They [LAUSD] decided to cancel that one week out of being cautious,” Headrick said. “They believed that by not having different teams meet to play against each other and by having kids practice outside with their masks on, they could potentially lower the transmission rate.”

Headrick added that based on how the schools on the east coast were able to handle the growth in infections, she believes Venice High will be able to finish out the winter sports season with no major disruptions related to COVID-19 

“If we look at what’s happened in New York and back east, things are much better than they were [COVID-19 cases] and it seemed to be worse there than in California. So our hope is that we will continue to improve and there will be no disruptions in sports anymore.” 

Valerio said that the cancellation of sports during the first week of school and the ongoing postponement of singular games is not a sign of COVID-19 getting out of control and that the schools will continue to function normally. 

“I have not heard much about going back to remote learning,” Valerio said. “The district has been very progressive with our weekly testing. I know they’re looking really close at the numbers, but I think that if we continue to do our part—come together as a community and follow the mask mandate—we will continue in-person schooling.”