AUSD Athletics Update

SOPHIA HUA (Editor in Chief), XINYU HUANG (Sports Editor)

Ever since the 2020-2021 school year started, sports on all Alhambra Unified School District campuses have been on pause due to the safety issues surrounding the spread of COVID-19. On March 5, however, AUSD released a letter to all parents and students announcing plans to bring sports back to high school students.

According to the letter sent by the district, the Department of Public Health has already cleared and finalized this plan. The main priority is to keep all students safe while ensuring the return of a sports season. 

“I didn’t expect a sports season at all so I am surprised and happy even if I will only be doing conditioning,” junior Kailyn To said. “It’s important to stay safe.” 

Along with this announcement, AUSD also included a list of protocols for all student athletes to follow. Before they can return to campus, athletes will be required to submit their physical clearance, proof of insurance and a signed COVID-19 waiver to the Home Campus website.

Face masks will still be required for all coaches and athletes at all times except for when there is physical exertion. Locker rooms will also no longer be in use, meaning that all athletes should come to campus dressed and only change when they get home. Any lingering within the campus will not be allowed; athletes are expected to leave immediately after practice is over. 

Despite the numerous safety guidelines, there are still concerns about sports starting up again. 

“Many parents [are] currently still concerned [that] if they give consent for their kids to participate [they] will get exposed to COVID-19,” senior Jennifer Huynh said. “Especially for students with multi-generational households… What if their older folks get the virus?”

The New York Times reports that teenagers are two times more likely to catch COVID-19 than children under the age of 10. If a single athlete is infected, they can spread the coronavirus to many others. According to the National Public Radio, after two wrestling tournaments for high school students in Florida were held in Dec. 2020, 38 of the 54 total attendees tested positive for COVID-19. 

The contrast between the detailed guidelines for the resuming of sports versus the return to in-person learning has also been noted. 

“It seems like they are prioritizing athletics over academics,” senior Sariah Perera said. 

Moreover, not all sports will be able to resume. The letter from AUSD states that water polo, competitive cheer and girls’ volleyball will be the only three sports which will not be able to practice or compete. Since boys’ volleyball will continue, another concern would be whether this violates Title IX, a federal civil rights law which ensures that equal opportunities in athletics are available to both sexes, as explained by the U.S. Department of Education.