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Cougar Sports Team Begin Limited Conditioning Workouts

There isn’t a firm plan in place yet for the fall sports season, but a handful of Escalon High School teams are gearing up, with conditioning officially underway.

Athletic Director Nate Bartelink said EHS coaches are following the guidelines issued by the San Joaquin County Public Health Services as sports squads begin their summer conditioning programs.

“Boys and girls basketball, cross country, football, volleyball and the cheer programs have begun workouts,” Bartelink said. “Regarding fall sports, we are currently still waiting and hoping for the best. The CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) is supposed to make a decision by July 20 on what fall sports will look like and when it will hopefully start.”

The county did issue “Interim Guidance” to allow for “distanced” conditioning and drills.

Among the guidelines included are participants remaining six feet apart at all times during the training, groups must be limited to no more than 12, including coaches and there can be no ‘cross training’ among groups – whatever group an athlete starts with, they must stay with that same group throughout the training sessions.

Outdoor activities are preferred and participants are asked to bring their own water or beverages and not share. The use of shared equipment is discouraged, however, if there is sharing of equipment, such as a ball, it cannot be shared between groups at the training and must be disinfected following use.

Hand sanitizer is also to be provided at the training site and coaches and instructors are required to wear face coverings over their nose and mouth. No spectators can attend the training sessions. Also, athletes are asked to limit their participation in the conditioning drills to one sport, as opposed to cross training.

The school’s annual Sports Physical Night has tentatively been scheduled for Tuesday, July 21, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“I say tentative given the current COVID situation,” Bartelink said.

The California Department of Public Health, meanwhile, has reported that guidance for youth sports to resume is under development and, when issued, will replace the “interim” guidance.

“Coronavirus is still very much present in San Joaquin County, and precautions are necessary as training resumes,” noted the county Public Health Services statement. “Cooperation with these requirements is important to protect the health of San Joaquin County residents.”