COVID-19 put a halt to high school sports for the 2020-2021 school year. In fact, no sports were played in the fall of 2020 because all of Galt’s high schools were on quarantine and participating in school in what has become known as “distance learning”.
Athletic Directors Anthony Linebaugh and Courtney Carillo spent countless hours working with administration, lawyers and the CIF league to figure out a way to bring sports back to our students.
Finally the return to sports happened with little fanfare when Liberty Ranch hosted a cross-country race on their campus versus Rosemont on Feb. 10, 2021.
Friday night football returned on March 12, 2021 with a four game season. There were restrictions, however, and only the players’ immediate households would be allowed to attend the games and sit socially distanced. The cheerleaders also returned, but were required to wear masks while they cheered, and no stunting or contact was allowed in any routines. Football would happen again four months later in the fall in August when the 2021-22 school year began in person.
Boys and girls soccer also started up in February with a limited season and limited spectators. Multi-sport athletes were getting pulled in different directions when almost all sports seemed to be coming back at once.
Softball and volleyball returned in the spring, and players and fans alike were required to wear masks. The players just had to have them somewhere on their face, and while some covered their mouth and noses, most wore them under their chins.
Tennis also returned and the outside sport athletes were required to wear masks in the hot sun while they competed. The athletes sported “mask tans” from being outside so much with their masks on.
Many athletes were put on quarantine during these seasons as they tested positive for COVID or had been exposed. School staff implemented a sophisticated array of tests and rules in order to allow sports to return. In fact, each basketball team had to quarantine after a team they played had a player or players test positive the day after they played them. The teams would have to test again and wait three days for a negative test to return to play.
With the start of school this fall, sports returned to their regular seasons, with mask restrictions and COVID testing. Some athletes are still required to wear masks and the constant testing remains a part of sports at the high school level, but less and less athletes are being put on quarantine during this season.
What will 2022 hold for our town’s athletes? For now, the testing, exposure quarantine mandates and restrictions are still in place. Hopefully, there will be less COVID timeouts as the year progresses and our athletes can fully return to the sports they love.