PARADISE, Calif. - Paradise High School sports are practicing again.
Action News Now spoke to the Head Football Coach Rick Prinz who says they have to follow all of the coronavirus guidelines.
He says right now they are doing off-season training. Meaning they are not using pads, and mostly weightlifting and conditioning.
Prinz says they are requiring masks at all times, and wiping down equipment after every use.
He says they even talk to the players to make sure they're staying safe and taking precautions outside of school. Prinz says even with the challenges in practices he is just happy the kids are back.
"I think athletics, especially football, I am the football coach, can really help with that. They can get back with their relationship with their coaches. Get focused on doing the right things at school and off-campus," shared Prinz. "So I think being together with their teammates and coaches is very helpful for young people."
Prinz told Action News Now they will start using pads on Dec. 14, per CIF. He also says some kids did not come back whether it was COVID-19 concerns or moving after the Camp Fire.
Action News Now also spoke to two junior volleyball players who lost their homes in the Camp Fire as freshmen, had to leave school in the middle of their sophomore year because of coronavirus, and now they are finally starting their junior year in-person. They explained how they have coped.
"School, friends, and volleyball and sports, everything really comes together and helps you," said Macy Hines. "I talk to my friends and family about it. We are all more together as a community too because of it."
"Mostly just talking to friends, because obviously, they experienced the same thing, and sports, I don't know it just helps, and doing stuff to get your mind off it mostly," said Kindra Rutledge.
Teammates Macy Hines and Kindra Rutledge say when they were not doing in-person classes and didn't have volleyball it was hard, but they couldn't be happier to be on the court.
"I think it's just everything. It is just such a good thing to have, in high school too, to be able to dedicate yourself to something you love and are passionate about, it's everything," said Hines.
"It's really great, just being back with our team and being together again," said Rutledge.
They explained that even though they are back, it looks different.
"We wear masks, we try to stay six feet apart at all times, we have stations for each other, that are six feet apart always. We try to keep everyone safe and comfortable," said Hines.
The team has their schedule already and games are set to start in January. The girls said all their teammates came back.
Both the soccer teams, basketball teams, and cross country teams are also practicing, and following all the COVID guidelines. The Paradise Athletic Department is also expanding with a new gym.
"So the gym to us has been a project to us for like the past 30 years. Every administrator has put their heart and soul into getting Paradise a new gym, and it just never happened."
Athletic Director, Anne Stearn, says the bond to get the new gym passed two days before the Camp Fire. She says they've made it a priority to make sure it was still built after the fire.
"I mean it just gives me chills to think about how amazing it has been for Paradise to see something like this come up from the ashes," says Stearn.
They broke ground on the gym last spring and it's expected to be done in February.
The athletes also have new equipment in their weight room.
"Well it's just really great to have such a great facility and have it upgraded in such a way," said Head Football Coach Rick Prinz.
He says the weight room was donated by money from the North Valley Foundation and from Family First Life. He says it's just what his student-athletes needed.
"It's really really nice for our kids, they have lost a lot, they have been pushed around a lot now with COVID so this has been very uplifting," said Prinz.
Oct. 26 was the first day athletes were allowed to use the new equipment.