Sports: Bosco Student-Athletes And Coaches “On Board” With CIF Regulations

by Ian Cook

After a chaotic year of athletics, the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) released updated COVID-19 protocols so that high school athletes in California can return to the field as safely and with as much normality as possible.

In the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic put a pause on many activities in California, one of them being high school sports. Since March 2021, a year after the initial shutdown, the CIF has been able to give all California high schools the opportunity to play sports, as long as they follow certain procedures and requirements. However, the CIF just released an updated set of protocols that schools must follow. These protocols and requirements have caused a dramatic change in the lives of many athletes and coaches at St. John Bosco High School. 

“We’re social distancing when we can, following the COVID guidelines and keeping our mask on as much as we can,” said senior Ryan Tuaolo, a defensive end and outside linebacker on the football team.

In addition, the CIF, particularly Executive Director Ron Nocetti, put into place mandatory COVID-19 testing for all unvaccinated athletes that play an outdoor sport. They also require mandatory testing for all athletes, vaccinated or not, who play an indoor sport, which starts this week. 

If an athlete or coach were to test positive for COVID-19, they would have to be quarantined for ten days and provide a negative COVID-19 test following their quarantine to return to campus. During the athlete’s quarantine, the school has to do contact tracing and issue a five-day quarantine for the unvaccinated student-athletes with whom the infected individual had close contact, while also being required to provide a negative COVID test and be asymptomatic in order to return to campus and athletics.  

If a vaccinated student-athlete or coach is in close contact with an infected individual, they can continue participation in school and sports so long as they exhibit no symptoms. This dynamic provides a lot of question marks week-to-week for Bosco athletic programs

“Not knowing if [players] are able to play and practice every day makes it frustrating, but it forces us to give it our all during practice and games every chance we get,” said senior Xavier Mangum, a defensive back on the football team. 

The CIF COVID-19 protocols for California high school sports are very simple. All unvaccinated outdoor sports athletes  must test once a week and at least three days before competition. Vaccinated players must show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination card in order to avoid testing.

The CIF’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused mixed reactions from the athletes and parents at Bosco and statewide. However, despite the challenges, Bosco student-athletes and coaches are more than grateful to be able to participate in athletics despite the pandemic.

“I think they handled the situation pretty well, despite us not being able to have a complete season due to the state guidelines last year. I know CIF wants us to have a regular and complete season, and I am on board with what they’re doing so that we can be as safe as possible,” said Nate Munson, the wide receiver coach for varsity football and the junior varsity head coach. 

Although the testing has put another obstacle in front of many athletes and coaches here at St. John Bosco, it has also caused the athletes to look out for each other off the field and during school.

“It’s going to be tough to have to test, but we have to do it if we want to be able to play,” said senior Niko Riera, a first baseman and pitcher on the baseball team. 

The consensus seems to be simple among student-athletes and coaches: they will happily adhere to CIF protocols if it means the continued joy of competition.

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