SPHS Sports Update | Student-Athletes ‘Taking Every Precaution’

With an alarming surge in coronavirus cases throughout California and nationwide, SPHS Athletic Director Anthony Chan is taking every precaution to keep student-athletes safe as they prepare for Season 1 in CIF-Southern Section competition scheduled for December

FILE PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | SPHS Football 2019

Anthony Chan, like fellow Californians, has heard the state’s order for a curfew on all indoor social gatherings and non-essential activities outside the home as part of a major escalation of measures to slow down the alarming surge in coronavirus cases.

As of now, explained the South Pasadena High athletic director, it doesn’t have any impact on teams at the school as they prepare for the upcoming Season 1, slated to kickoff in December.

That’s the word for now anyway in the ever-changing world of the pandemic.

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For the time being, the curfew does not affect our programs in their training and conditioning,” explained Chan, glad to see student-athletes on campus training with hopes that competition will indeed take place in the near future. “Our intention is to continue to provide safe workouts until we are directed differently. Our football games that are scheduled in January would need to adhere to the curfew, but if we finish them by 9 to 9:30 p.m. it would be okay. However, based on the current guidelines we are still continuing to have distance between our student-athletes, so matches would be difficult under the current protocols.”

The curfew, which went into effect last Saturday, will last from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., ending December 21. Restaurants are permitted to provide takeout and delivery after that time. During the curfew hours individuals can continue routine activities like walking dogs, shop for groceries, receive medical care, pick up prescriptions and take care of only essential needs during the curfew hours.

The state is facing its most serious surge since the virus first came on the scene. In a statement the Governor Gavin Newsom said: “The virus is spreading at a pace we haven’t seen since the start of this pandemic, and the next days and weeks will be critical to stop the surge. We are sounding the alarm.”

So is Chan, who insists all safety protocols will remain at a high level as practices at South Pasadena High are closely monitored, stressing that all student-athletes are wearing face coverings, staying 6 feet apart, and using minimal equipment during practice sessions.

“All equipment is sanitized after partner pairs,” he said. “Our custodial staff does a sanitation of our restrooms during and after practices. We have plenty of personal protective equipment (PPE) that the district has provided us. Should any masks break during workouts, we are able to provide a replacement. There are hand sanitizer stations located in various places for our coaches and student-athletes.”

Practices on campus began November 2 with teams scheduled to compete in the first of two seasons in December and January. Season 2 will kick off in March.

“We are excited to have student-athletes back for Season 1 training and conditioning,” said Chan. “We are working on staggering our Season 2 sports to be back on campus as well.  There has been a lot of effort in planning and making sure that our programs run smoothly.”

Students are returning to an athletic department at SPHS that has a new look as a result of a major renovation effort. Costing an estimated $13.5 million, the project, paid for through a $98 million bond measure, is nearly completed. Work includes improvements to the school’s two gymnasiums, new outdoor basketball courts, tennis courts, visitor bleachers, field house, training room, and an architectural redesign of the area on Diamond Avenue from the gyms moving south to the pool and baseball field.

“We are continuing to pick at the details of the renovation project to make sure that we are completely satisfied,” said Chan.

The Los Angeles County Health Department on Monday released additional warnings that, as of Wednesday at 10 p.m., all dining at restaurants, breweries, wineries and bars will be restricted as the five-day average of new cases increased to more than 4,000 cases. In person dining will not be allowed, at minimum, for the next three weeks.

As of Monday, the Health Department reports more than 364,520 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of L.A. County and a total of 7,438 deaths. “The persistent high number of cases requires additional safety measures that limit mixing in settings where people are not wearing masks,” said LA County Health Department Director Barbara Ferrer. “We hope individuals continue to support restaurants, breweries and wineries by ordering for take-out or delivery. We also fervently hope every L.A. County resident supports all our businesses by following the Public Health directives that we know work to slow spread.”

While local student-athletes continue preparing for the upcoming season, with Newsom’s announcement related to the increase in coronavirus infections, the CIF-Southern Section, which includes South Pasadena High, said it was closing its Los Alamitos office until further notice.

“We will re-evaluate our office service based on the recommendations and guidance of local, state and federal health organizations as they evolve,” said CIF-SS Assistant Commissioner Thom Simmons, adding that all employees will work remotely.