(SANTA ANA, Calif.) — Student-athletes from Santa Ana were allowed to resume athletic conditioning this week after a school year-long pause due to COVID-19.
Although Orange County is still in the second-highest level, or purple tier, of COVID-19 restrictions, the Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD) has decided to allow athletes to return to practice. This decision could increase the chances of students and faculty being exposed to the virus.
SAUSD president Rigo Rodriguez hosted a school district board meeting on Tuesday to discuss coronavirus restrictions and other matters
“We have approved a plan to allow student-athletes to return to conditioning programs and even to compete in sports allowed by their current guidelines,” said Rodriguez.
Santa Ana High School football coach Charlie TeGantvoort told ABC7 that athletes must wear a mask, disinfect their equipment, separate into pods, and keep all their belongings with them.
With social distancing measures and various vaccines, experts are still unsure if herd immunity will happen anytime soon. Board members of the Santa Ana Unified School District are aware of the risks their faculty, staff, and students will be taking.
“What is very important to understand is if you get the vaccine — the first shot and the second shot — does not mean that you cannot get infected. You still have to practice social distancing, hand sanitizer, and masks,” said John Palacio, a SAUSD board member.
Despite the increased chance of catching the virus, the school district plans to resume athletic games in the near future.
“Competition and cross country could be resuming soon in schools that offer that sport,“ said Rodriguez, adding that “competition in baseball and softball could begin if our community positivity rates decrease and the region falls under a less restrictive tier.”
Students like Ivan Mandoza, a freshman at Santa Ana High School, are excited about the school district’s decision.
“The overwhelming response has been good, we want sports, and just want to get out of the house and see each other,” said Mandoza.