On February 19th, the California Department of Public Health released new guidelines for outdoor and indoor youth and recreational sports, with very specific rules on masking and physical distancing that must be followed.

The new guidelines, which are set to take effect on February 26th, will allow counties to resume school, community-organized, and privately-organized youth sports when COVID-19 case rates fall below a 14 per 100,00 ratio.

Orange County’s current COVID-19 case rate is 11.9 cases per 100,000, which is below the threshold outlined in the State’s “return to play” guidelines for youth sports.  That means outdoor youth sports — including soccer, baseball, football, water polo, and softball — should be allowed to resume very soon.

Youth sports in Irvine and across California were shut down last year as part of the State’s attempt to flatten the COVID-19 curve.

Outdoor non-contact training resumed a few months ago, with enhanced physical distancing guidelines.

High Schools in Irvine have been anxiously awaiting the updated guidelines and case rates as they race against the clock to start and complete their sports seasons before students go on summer break.  With Tuesday’s updates, high schools may be able to start their seasons very soon.

For more information, read the California Department of Public Health’s latest youth sports announcement by clicking here.

Joel Smith