Omicron Variant Sidelines Athletic Competitions

First published in the Jan. 6 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.

The omicron variant has crippled the state of high school athletics as the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health recently updated its guidelines on youth sports to combat the surge in cases.
The most notable guideline is a seven-day suspension of all team activities if an outbreak of four or more epidemiologically linked positive cases occurs within 14 days.
“There’s nothing we can do. We just have to keep on going and be optimistic, but we have to prepare for the worst,” LCHS head basketball coach Tom Hofman said. “It’s going to be hard to continue to season the way this thing is spreading right now. What’s intriguing to me is how long CIF will keep going.”
Hofman also speculated on limiting spectators at indoor events for the rest of the season, which has been discussed among other parties. A no-spectator rule was recently implemented for Pacific League indoor competitions, per Glendale’s Athletic Director Narek Vardanian.
Additionally, all active and nonactive participants must wear a mask when practicing, conditioning or competing indoors, as practicable. This includes masking requirements in team meetings, weight rooms and locker rooms.
All of the main winter sports, including soccer, water polo, wrestling and basketball, are categorized as high-risk sports that present close, physical contact with players.
Several La Cañada High School athletics have been postponed throughout last week, while Flintridge Sacred Heart and Flintridge Prep had most of its games postponed too. However, St. Francis High School’s varsity boys’ soccer team remained untouched by hosting West Hills Chaminade on Wednesday. The Golden Knights are also scheduled to host Mission Hills Alemany on Friday.
However, to allow greater flexibility, the California Interscholastic Federation released a statement Wednesday, temporarily suspending Bylaw 504.M., which will now permit schools to schedule games on Sundays.
Despite a hectic and fluid schedule based on several factors such as testing, transportation, official shortages and general coordinating, the schools will attempt to reschedule its games.
La Cañada High School Athletic Director Carrie Saks did not respond to the Outlook Valley Sun’s requests for comment before press deadline. La Cañada Principal Jim Cardinal also did not respond to a request for comment before the Outlook Valley Sun’s press deadline.