All indoor and outdoor youth sports will be allowed to resume in California -- with a catch. Students will have to follow guidelines similar to those that collegiate athletes are playing under.
The announcement came Thursday from a group called "Let Them Play CA," which has been pushing for the return of youth sports, following a tentative legal settlement in San Diego.
Just a few weeks ago, the state loosened restrictions on youth sports, allowing all outdoor sports-- with added safety protocols -- to resume once a county's COVID-19 case rate dropped below 14 per 100,000 residents.
The new guidelines, which should be released by the California Department of Public Health in full Thursday or Friday, will allow outdoor and indoor sports to resume if they follow the same guidelines that college and professional sports are currently following.
That includes weekly testing for student athletes and a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of a game. For outdoor sports, those weekly testing requirements would be dropped when a county falls below seven COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents. Indoor sports like volleyball and basketball would require testing until the local case rate is very low: less than one per 100,000 residents.
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The new rules dictate each player can have four family members in attendance at games. Spectators will not have to be tested in order to attend.
The revised rules from a few weeks ago also imposed lots of new limitations, including banning indoor activities like team dinners and film study and prohibiting athletes from sharing equipment. Coaches and players not in games had to wear masks. All of those requirements are expected to remain in place under the new state guidelines.
The state will provide testing for three contact sports: football, rugby and water polo. Coach Marlon Gardinera, part of the group pushing to bring youth sports back, pointed others to testtodayCA.com, which is helping fill the void and provide testing for sports other than those three.
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The settlement reached Thursday affects California state guidelines, but as with any other COVID-19 guidance, there is room for counties or districts to implement stricter rules at the local level. They cannot implement looser restrictions, however.
The new settlement affects youth sports at all ages, attorney Ian Friedman said in a media briefing Thursday.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.