Athletic Parent Memo 1/7/22 (PDF)
Happy New Year!
As we begin 2022, we have seen a dramatic rise in COVID infection rates, particularly in Athletics. While the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the California Department of Public Health have revised guidance around COVID isolation and quarantine protocols, this memo is to re-emphasize that the Sweetwater Union High School District (SUHSD) protocols will, for the most part, remain the consistent with our previous guidance. All SUHSD student-athletes and coaches, participating in either in-season or out-of-season athletic activities, will be expected to follow these COVID mitigation protocols, as stated. Site principals and administrative teams, in conjunction with District leadership, are ultimately responsible to enforce these protocols.
We will revisit this guidance at the beginning of February and make revisions as necessary.
The California Department of Public Health has issued guidance designating that any indoor event with over 500 spectators as a “Mega Event” wherein, among other health and safety protocols, all attendees must show proof of vaccination and/or a negative COVID test prior to entry. This guidance goes into effect on January 15, 2022. As such, we will cap the capacity of all District indoor venues (i.e. gymnasiums) at 499 spectators and participants. Each site must continue to develop and implement COVID mitigation protocols for indoor venues, such as spectator spacing and signage requiring masking; these protocols must be approved by the Cabinet level supervisor of the site.
Additionally, concessions are not allowed at indoor venues, at this time.
All COVID mitigation protocols, including COVID testing, remain in effect:
- Student-athletes playing indoor sports (in-season or out-of-season practices or competitions) must test twice weekly for COVID. Failure to test twice weekly, or to provide timely negative results will result in the student-athlete being unable to participate in practices or competitions until the testing requirement is met. Again, site administrative teams are responsible for implementing and enforcing this protocol.
- All student-athletes and coaches must complete the registration process for COVID pool testing provided by Concentric. All athletes playing indoor sports must participate in both pool testing days at their school site. Any student-athletes or coaches absent for the scheduled pool testing will need to obtain the required COVID testing from a District or County testing program, or from their medical providers, and submit the negative results in order to continue participating in practice or in competition.
- Student-athletes playing outdoor sports (in-season or out-of-season practices or competitions) will continue to test weekly. Failure to test weekly will result in the student being unable to participate in practices or competitions until the testing requirement is met. Again, site administrative teams are responsible for implementing and enforcing this protocol.
- All student-athletes and coaches must complete the registration process for COVID pool testing provided by Concentric. Any student-athletes or coaches absent for the scheduled pool testing will need to obtain the required COVID testing from a District or County testing program, or from their medical providers, and submit the negative results in order to continue participating in practice or in competition.
Other COVID Mitigation Protocols
Please continue to follow these other protocols and procedures:
- Student-athletes or coaches exhibiting ANY COVID-related symptoms shall NOT be allowed participate in any in-person team meetings, practices or competitions.
- All SUHSD student-athletes, participating in either in-season or out-of-season athletic activities, must return the Athletics Masking and COVID Testing Protocols Acknowledgement Form. Site Athletic Directors or ASB Assistant Principals shall collect and keep these forms.
- Student-athletes need to submit documentation of vaccination status. Absent submission of proof of vaccination, the student-athletes will be presumed as unvaccinated. Site Athletic Directors, ASB APs or School Nurses shall collect and keep the documentation of vaccination status.
The best chance for student-athletes to have uninterrupted participation in sports is to be vaccinated. The District strongly encourages vaccinations for all students, especially student-athletes.
- All student-athletes must wear a mask whenever they are not actively participating in the sport (i.e. actively on the court or mat). Student-athletes and others must wear their face mask on the sidelines during any game and practice as well as in huddles and team meetings during the game or practice.
- All student-athletes, coaches, chaperones, drivers and others must wear masks when in vehicles to and from practices and competitions.
- Students, coaches, school employees, officials and spectators must continue to wear masks at all times when indoors (i.e. in a gymnasium, locker room, weight room or meeting room).
Any positive COVID test (whether through pool, antigen or PCR testing), must be promptly reported to the District via the Google COVID Information Form. Any positive COVID test associated with a team may impact the entire team’s ability to participate in practices and competitions.
- Any student-athlete that is identified as COVID positive must isolate for 10 DAYS and follow the prescribed San Diego County return to play protocols. During the 10-day isolation, student-athletes may not participate in athletics (practices or competitions).
- For all wrestling and basketball teams (and other teams practicing and competing unmasked indoors), if a team member or coach tests positive for COVID, all team members will be presumed as unmasked close contacts. For student-athletes that have not submitted proof of vaccination, being identified as an unmasked close contact will render that student-athlete as unable to participate in modified quarantine or extracurricular activities. Currently, San Diego County policy states that unvaccinated, unmasked, asymptomatic student-athletes identified close contacts are unable to return to school or sports until Day 8 of their quarantine (so long as they test negative on or after Day 5). For students experiencing symptoms, their return will be assessed by the school nurse on a case-by-case basis.
- For all outdoor sports (in-season or out-of-season practices or competitions) wherein a team member or coach tests positive for COVID, all team members will participate in contact tracing to determine which student-athletes or coaches are identified as close contacts. If students have not submitted proof of vaccination and are determined to be a close contact, they will be unable to participate in modified quarantine or extracurricular activities and will be unable to return to school or sports until Day 8 (so long as they test negative on or after Day 5). For students experiencing symptoms, their return will be assessed by the school nurse on a case-by-case basis.
- Fully vaccinated students who are determined to be close contacts and remain asymptomatic will have the ability to continue to participate in athletics.
- In all cases of a positive COVID test, site administration will need to notify District officials and complete the Google COVID Information Form. Site administration will be responsible for adhering to all protocols and ensuring student-athletes and/or teams deemed as close contacts are informed of the COVID case(s) and do not practice or compete.
- If multiple positive cases affect a team, site principals (in consultation with District leadership) will determine if and when a team needs to shut down. Any closure of athletic teams must be reported to the Athletics department.
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In light of our incredibly increased COVID positive case numbers, diligence and patience must be practiced by all. These high rates of infection MUST be reduced. If COVID positive numbers continue to climb, District leadership will be forced to consider other avenues of mitigation, including a stoppage of all athletic activities until COVID positive rates subside.
Please contact us if you have any questions.
Thank you for all that you do to support our student-athletes.