Hart District announces sports camps delay due to COVID-19

The William S. Hart Union High School District office
The William S. Hart Union High School District office

By Noelle Blumel

High school sports camps that were set to start Monday are now being delayed until further notice, officials said Wednesday.

Athletic programs and staff for the William S. Hart Union High School District were set to begin summer camps for the coming season next week. However, coaches and parents were informed via email that all events were being postponed due to growing safety concerns regarding COVID-19.

“With the utmost respect for the safety of our students and staff, and with desire to comply with the most recent health orders, we are postponing all 2020 summer camps,” the email stated. 

Representatives from all seven schools, including athletic staff and administrators within the district, met virtually Wednesday morning for a Foothill League meeting during which it was unanimously agreed among all participants that postponing summer camps “makes sense due to the changing conditions with COVID-19 and the upcoming orders,” according to the email.

California Interscholastic Federation officials previously announced that determinations on high school sports for the 2020-21 school year would be made July 20. 

Hart District spokesman Dave Caldwell also noted in the email that district representatives will be providing updates on both the status of camps and of refunds for any fees already received. 

“We’ll know more in about 19 days, but ultimately it comes down to the 10 section commissioners and the state office,” said Dick Dornan, spokesman for the CIF LA-City Section. “The ideal situation would be to have all 10 sections on the same calendar.”

However, part of the challenge, he said, is that the infection rates have varied throughout the state, meaning there are different public health orders to govern different sections. 

Dornan also said school districts and local schools are essentially not governed by CIF regulations during the summer period, which means non-Hart District schools are able to determine their own regulations until the CIF ruling. 

Trinity Classical Academy, for example, is working on a plan so it can safely resume practice under Public Health guidelines within the next two weeks, which is expected to take place before July 20, according to Matt Dixon, Trinity’s former athletic director, who currently oversees student programs. 

“We recognize trying to balance two things: Obviously, one, do what’s responsible and what’s in accordance with the rules in place; and two, to serve our families. Those are the two big things that always impact our decision-making,” he said. 

Meanwhile, even if some schools start, there are still a score of issues to address, such as: Will there be enough time for a season; can schedules line up for postseason play; and can the “higher risk” or closer contact sports, i.e. football and basketball, be safely restarted in time for the fall?

Linda Peckham, head athletic director for Hart High School, attended the virtual meeting held Wednesday morning and said there are many scenarios being thrown out there that might happen, and it’s changing quickly.

“There’s a possibility that, especially if we’re going to have a fall season, which we don’t know yet, that we may have like a short two-week camp — especially for those fall sports, so that they can kind of get started on stuff,” Peckham said. “Everything’s up in the air right now.”

Signal Managing Editor Perry Smith contributed to this report.

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