In an all-school email sent Jan. 8, President Rick Commons announced the cancellation of all on-campus athletics and activities until at least Feb. 1, in accordance with Los Angeles County Department of Public Health guidelines.
The school made efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on campus by voluntarily closing both campuses from Dec. 19 to Jan. 10. Still, because California continues to face an unprecedented surge, according to Covid19.CA.GOV, guidelines on youth-sports have changed for the first time since August.
“I am grateful for the responsible way our coaches, athletes and other students have followed careful safety protocols, including COVID-19 testing in anticipation of a more immediate resumption of activities, but we must continue to abide by the health guidelines of state and local authorities,” Commons wrote.
The updated guidelines not only forbid sports competitions from taking place until at least Jan. 25 but also assign each sport a tier for reopening based on levels of contact. For example, outdoor, low contact sports such as biking are allowed at the county’s current tier one. However, outdoor basketball will not be permitted to take place until cases fall enough in Los Angeles County to reach tier three.
Despite much initial disappointment, football player Sonny Hayes ’22 said he was grateful that the school put the health and safety of him and his teammates first.
“I think that Harvard-Westlake was more than justified in postponing on campus sports and showed that safety of athletes was their priority,” Hayes said. “It’s a shame that we cannot see our teammates in person and have the privilege of a weight room and field, and I think sports, for many, was an escape from the challenges we face presently.”
Some club sports still remain practicing and competing despite the changes in health guidelines.
Head of Athletics Terry Barnum said in an email to the athletic community that though some of them are run by the school’s coaches, the club sports programs are not affiliated with the school during this time.
“Harvard-Westlake is not requiring its coaches or athletes to participate in club sports activity during the coronavirus pandemic,” Barnum wrote. “Club sports activities that are held during the coronavirus pandemic are not sponsored by Harvard-Westlake, and the school will not provide financial or logistical support to these activities.”