Butte County high school athletes await return as state releases new sports guidelines

Youth sports like Football, Soccer and Basketball can return late February if counties reach a certain requirement. Players and coaches are hoping more counties can reach the threshold so that soon they can suit up again.

Posted: Feb 22, 2021 10:49 AM

CHICO, Calif. - A county must have 14 COVID cases per 100,000 or below in order to bring sports back.

Friday, only Trinity and Plumas County meet the requirements in our area.

Butte County is just above that 14 cases per 100,000, sitting at 14.7, but it sets the bar, and for coaches and players they said it brings them hope that soon, they can suit up again.

"They're so ready," said Chico High School Football Head Coach Jason Alvistur.

"They've been waiting for this for 11 months man," said Pleasant Valley Football Head Coach Mike Cooley. "Honestly, it feels like we won the lottery today, I'm super ecstatic and pumped up, excited. I was able to let my seventh period know. Cheers, I'm pretty sure the rest of the building heard."

RELATED: California loosens rules for youth sports during pandemic

"Honestly it feels pretty good, we haven't been playing for like a minute so, we've been working out a lot, we've been prepared just in case," said Pleasant Valley Sophomore Bryson McFall. "We didn't think we were gonna have the season. It feels good!"

But before these athletes can put the pads on, there are requirements and guidelines to follow.

"So their components in our reopening plan for youth sports that do require for high contact sports," said Gov. Gavin Newsom in a press conference. "Yes, like football, that we have some testing requirements"

READ: CA Public Health releases new guidance for youth sports

On top of testing student-athletes constantly, masks must be worn at all times.

"The kids are gonna have to be careful in their personal lives not to be careless, but we are gonna have some testing, and like coach said, the district has given us some protocols, I think we bought into em, and the kids bought into em," said Alvistur. "And we just need to keep doing them, and we will"

Still, for the players and the coaches, it's like being in the end zone.

"Finally we got some positive news, and we're pumped up and ready to go," said Cooley.

"We can't stop talking about it," said Chico Freshman Troy Sommer.

"We're super pumped, we're freshman so we put in the work to see what the competition see if it's gonna be harder," said Chico Football Freshman Azari Rose. "We put in more work, and we got the go. It feels like deserved."

As far as putting fans in the stands, the state says you can have observers with masks and spaced out for social distance.

Chico Unified and coaches plan to meet next week to further discuss what can and cannot happen.

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