High-contact sports such as football and water polo got the go-ahead in San Bernardino County to begin their seasons Friday after the county announced Thursday night it reached the threshold of fewer than 14 new coronavirus cases per day per 100,000 residents.
The county’s figure currently sits at 12.8, officials reported.
Now that the county got below the 14-case mark, football and water polo will be allowed to suit up along with lower-contact sports such as baseball, softball, and soccer with COVID-19 safety restrictions in place.
Youth sports, including Little League Baseball, can also resume.
High school track and field, tennis and swimming can begin Monday, even if the county’s threshold had remained above 14.
Football and water polo players will be required to be tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis until the county’s case rate drops to seven per 100,000 residents, according to the California Interscholastic Federation-Southern Section.
“Testing for these sports will be required until their county meets the red tier ‘substantial’ metrics,” officials said Tuesday.
Indoor sports— basketball, volleyball, and wrestling— still have to wait until the county reaches the yellow or “minimal tier” to begin. The minimal tier would have to have an infection rate of 0.9 or less per 100,000 residents.
If those sports moved outdoors, they would be cleared to resume.
Numbers released on Feb. 23 showed San Bernardino County at 15.2, a significant drop from the 24.2 a week earlier. High school teams in Los Angeles County (12.3 per 100,000) and Orange County (11.9 per 100,000) returned to practice this week, but Riverside County teams were still forced to wait because of its rate of 16.6 per 100,000 residents as of Tuesday.
Cross country teams were allowed to resume earlier this month, and at least one baseball team has finalized its 2021 schedule.
Ayala High baseball announced Tuesday it will begin with a doubleheader Saturday, March 20 at Foothill High in Tustin. First pitch is at 10 a.m. The Bulldogs, which were ranked seventh in the nation at the end of the shortened 2020 season, will play three other nonleague games and three National Classic Tournament games through April 6, before starting Palomares League play on Friday, April 9.
Boys tennis will begin Monday with Chino and Chino Hills playing each other at 3:15 p.m. Monday, and again Tuesday. Monday’s match will take place at Chino Hills High, 16150 Pomona Rincon Road and Tuesday’s match will be held at Chino High, 5472 Park Place.
Football teams could announce their nonleague and league game schedules next week with a possible start date of March 12 or 19.
Teams will be limited to five or six games, including league, and must conclude their seasons by April 30.
Playoffs will not be held this year.