Return Play Phase 1

Phase 1
Return to Play


In Phase 1, student athletes will participate in outdoor physical conditioning and practice activities in small groups under the guidance of their coaches.  All teams must complete a full five (5) days of only conditioning and practicing public health measures before using any equipment, such as balls or other sporting equipment.

Preparing for Return:

  • Phase 1 participation by student athletes is voluntary.
  • SCUSD coaches will be instructed to “hold students harmless” if families determine their student/athlete is not yet ready to participate in athletics. All athletes and coaches will undergo training on COVID-19 management before conditioning drills begin:
  • Training will be provided through the SCUSD’s Risk Management Department and is available online. 
  • The SCUSD Parent/Guardian COVID-19 waiver must be signed by the athlete’s parent/ guardian prior to the student participating in Phase 1.
  • All student athletes are required to pass a physical exam before their season of sport. The Board of Education can approve a 30-day extension from the athlete’s first day of participation, as long as the athlete has a physical on file with the school athletic director.
  • Coaches need to submit a phase 1 Return to Athletics plan submitted and approved by the site principal and athletic director.

Health Precautions for Students and Staff

  • The SCUSD Return to Health Plan includes specific details about public health guidance and all activities must adhere to this plan and any further revisions.
  • Students must arrive dressed for workouts.
  • All coaches and students will screen for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 prior to each workout. 
  • Upon arriving for practice, staff and students will review the screening questions and affirm they do not meet any of the criteria for staying home.
  • Temperature will be taken for all staff and students present.
  • If no symptoms or temperature of 100.4 or higher are present, the student/staff may participate.
  • If the student/staff has a temperature of 100.4 or higher, and/or does not pass the screening questions:
  • The student or staff will be relocated to an isolated area, ensuring the student and staff keep their face coverings on.
  • The coach will notify the parent/guardian and monitor the individual until support arrives (parent/guardian).
  • Staff will call 911 when symptoms are severe, including persistent pain, pressure in chest area, confusion, bluish lips or face
  • Communication and cleaning protocols will be implemented as directed.

Mitigation Requirements for Students and Staff 

Stay home if you are Sick
  • If a person is sick they must stay home until they are symptom-free for 24 hours without the use of medicine AND at least 10 days have passed since the day the symptoms first appeared. Staff and athletes will not attend practice if they have been exposed to COVID-19. Students and coaches are required to quarantine if they have been exposed to COVID-19 and/or show any signs of symptoms or illness.
Physical Distancing
  • Coaches and students must keep at least 6 feet from other people at all times. Maintaining adequate space is one of the best tools available to avoid exposure to COVID-19 and slow its spread. 
  • Physical contact such as high-fives, fist/chest bumps, and hugs are not allowable at this time. Signs of encouragement and support are vital to team spirit. Teams are encouraged to establish new ways to express support or encouragement for team members.     
  • Visible markings of 6 feet or more will be used to ensure students and staff adhere to physical distancing, such as chalk circles or other such visual measures.
Wash Hands Frequently
  • All students and staff should wash hands upon entering and exiting the facility. Training on effective hand washing and use of sanitizer will be provided to all students and staff.  If soap and water are not available, use district provided alcohol-based hand sanitizer. 
Use Cloth Face Coverings 
  • Cloth face coverings prevent a person from spreading respiratory droplets while talking, singing, breathing, or coughing. They are primarily meant to protect other people in case the wearer is unknowingly infected (people carrying COVID-19 may not always have symptoms). Cloth face coverings are not surgical masks, respirators, or personal protective equipment.  
  • All SCUSD staff (including coaches) are required to wear a cloth face covering, unless not recommended by a physician. In that case, the staff person should wear a face shield, per guidance provided by CDE/CDPH
  • Cloth face coverings must always be worn when participating in school activities, including athletics when physical distancing is difficult to maintain, such as moving around a populated area.
Outdoor Activities
  • Activities that require heavy exertion should be conducted outside in a physically distanced manner without face coverings. Physical distance of more than 6 feet must be adhered to when face coverings are removed for heavy exertion.  
  • If a team is meeting outside and no strenuous physical activity is occurring, face masks must be worn.

Mitigation Guidelines for the Physical Environment

  • Locker rooms will NOT be available during Phase 1.
  • All activities in Phase 1 are to be done outdoors.  
  • While Sacramento County is listed in the “widespread” purple risk level on the State of California COVID Dashboard, certain team activities that may be conducted outdoors are allowed.  
  • Teams may use equipment that can be transported and utilized outside, such as balls and other sporting or conditioning equipment, under the following requirements:  
  • Sports equipment must be designated and marked for each cohort youth sports group. This equipment will not be used by any other cohort youth sports group until it is disinfected.
  • Participants will wash their hands/ or use hand sanitizer prior to and immediately following activities where equipment and/or balls are handled by multiple individuals.
  • All athletic equipment must be disinfected after use by each cohort group. Coaches, trainers and other staff are responsible for ensuring all equipment used by students/athletes and coaches is sanitized after each use.
  • There should be no shared athletic supplies, such as towels, clothing, shoes, or sports specific supplies, between students.
  • If monetary transactions are handled on site, provide contactless payment or prepayment options whenever possible.
  • Students and staff must bring their own water container and/or sports drink
  • Students must access the practice area through outside entrances such as gates, parking lots, etc.
  • No spectators will be allowed (students and coaches only)
  • Youth Sports Conditioning must be conducted in a cohort.  A cohort is a stable group of no more than 27 individuals within the group made up of students and supervising adults.
  • Students will practice and work out with the same student group or cohort throughout Phase 1. 
  • Members of the cohort may be changed only after the member or group has not been in contact with any part of any cohort for 14 days.
  • Students may access restrooms during designated practice times 
  • Each school principal/plant manager/ athletic director will create and implement a cleaning schedule that addresses the needs of all 3 Phases.
  • All school facilities will be properly disinfected and ready for student participation.
  • Prior to moving to Phase 2 each school and sport must have successfully met the guidelines in this document and those outlined by CIF.  
  • Phase 2 will commence once approved by SCUSD and Sacramento County Public Health (SCPH).