It was a tumultuous week across the city: the Long Beach Unified School District’s high schools took the field for football practice on Monday, then saw those practices closed back down again on Wednesday. Even while they were going on, those practices looked a lot different.
“Our conversation a couple weeks ago about restarting was, we’re going to follow the CIF guidelines and make sure it’s safe,” said Moore League secretary Lisa Ulmer. Long Beach Poly, Wilson, Lakewood, and other league schools took the field for two days for conditioning drills, running and body weight workouts while practicing social distancing. According to state guidelines they weren’t allowed to use footballs or any other shared equipment.
On Wednesday morning around 8 a.m., word went to all the high schools that by order of the Long Beach Health Department, the LBUSD was shutting things back down. That came after two days of rolling shutdowns throughout Southern California.
Orange County’s public schools shut their workouts down by county health orders on Monday, while the LAUSD never even started them. Even private schools in Orange County including Mater Dei and Santa Margarita shut down Tuesday due to orders from the local diocese.
The LBUSD held out longer than most, but put the order out Wednesday–that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t a benefit to starting back up, as coaches were able to process the massive amounts of paperwork required to intake students for the 2020-21 season.
“A lot of coaches are taking a full day or two just to get together for paperwork,” said Ulmer. “There’s guidelines from the CIF, from the school district–we’ve added some language about COVID-19 just to make sure parents know that this is optional.”
Not all Moore League schools chose to go back. While the Jackrabbits and Bruins were on the field Monday, Millikan coach Romeo Pellum put out a statement through the team’s social media channels stating that he’s choosing to not hold workouts for the next two weeks.
“As much as we all want to get back to football it is my job as the head coach and as a person to consider and care about the well-being of our players, coaches, and all of our families,” wrote Pellum. “I’ve decided to suspend all in-person football activities…COVID-19 numbers are spiking and I’m aware a good amount of our families have someone in their household with underlying conditions.”
Looming large over all of this summer activity is the July 20 date that the CIF State office has said will be when they announce the sports schedule for the upcoming school year. The office is narrowing down to two options: one would essentially see the schedule play out as normal, with the understanding that football and other fall sports could be later delayed or canceled. The other plan would see essentially no varsity contests statewide for the rest of 2020, with a compacted Fall/Winter/Spring season fit into the January-June window.
“Everything’s a bit of a waiting game until then,” said Ulmer, who said the LBUSD schools were filling out surveys from the CIF State office about how they’d like to proceed.