SCVAL Board of Managers comes to a decision on playoffs, cohorts and spectators


Elyssa Kennedy

The Santa Clara Valley Athletic League (SCVAL) held a public webinar yesterday at 9 a.m., where they ultimately agreed to table further discussion on playoffs until more information is released by the County. The board also released new guidelines on cohorts and voted to allow for a limited number of spectators at all Season 2 and 3 competitions.

The Santa Clara Valley Athletic League (SCVAL) held a webinar yesterday at 9 a.m. to address public inquiry over athlete participation in the Central Coast Section (CCS) playoffs, protocols related to cohort sizes, spectators at competitions and guidelines for COVID-19 testing. Ultimately, the Board voted to hold off on any decision regarding postseason competition, updated cohort guidelines and agreed to allow spectators at Season 2 and 3 competitions at a limited capacity.

The board held a short period of public comment before ultimately tabling any further discussions on postseason competitions until more information is available. The original motion — to disallow all postseason competitions — was not passed; all but two Board members, Homestead High School Principal Greg Giglio and Los Altos High School Principal Wynne Satterwhite, voted against the motion. Mountain View High School Principal Michael Jimenez abstained from voting. 

“I don’t want to be swayed in what our purpose was originally; maintenance of the mental health and wellbeing of our students and getting our students back on the field as soon as possible.” Satterwhite said. “If we start to make too many changes, equitability starts to become a problem.”

The CCS Board of Managers will vote to either continue or cancel postseason competition on Wednesday, April 14. 

The Board also decided that there will be no sports-wide capacity limit for any sports cohort. Instead, the number of students per cohort will depend on the sport, and the quantity should not exceed the number of athletes needed for a scrimmage. This means that the maximum size of a football cohort will be significantly larger than that of a basketball cohort. 

Moreover, because the County is officially in the red tier as of Wednesday, March 3, the Mountain View–Los Altos (MVLA) School District has updated its single cohort rule to abide by the guidelines of the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF). The single cohort rule is no longer mandated by the District, which means that students can participate in both high school and club sports simultaneously. 

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) also moved volleyball into the yellow tier. However, there is talk of moving it back into the orange tier, meaning that competitions may start as soon as the County transitions into the orange tier. Badminton singles competitions are allowed to be held under the orange tier, but doubles competitions must wait to start competitions until the County is in the yellow tier. The Board has approved all football, field hockey, as well as girls and boys soccer schedules. 

In further regards to Season 2 and 3 sports, the Board laid out a clear set of guidelines for spectators’ returns. Each athlete will be allowed to bring a maximum of four family members to each competition. The number of family members allowed to attend a given competition may decrease depending on the facility size, but can never exceed four. 

The Board has discussed a tentative rule that any person two years or younger will not account for one of the four members allowed to attend competitions. Non-family members will not be allowed to attend any competitions, and will instead be able to watch competitions live through Instagram. Student media groups will only be able to attend competitions so long as they have a CCS media pass. No spectators will be allowed for any Season 1 competitions. 

Furthermore, new guidelines on testing for high contact outdoor sports — water polo, football and rugby — have been released by the County. If there are more than 14 cases per 100,000 residents, contact sports will not be allowed to play. If there are between seven and 14 cases per 100,000 residents, there will be mandated weekly testing. 

The County is currently at around 5.8 cases per 100,000 residents, and the Board has recommended that each school have an idea of how testing will be conducted if case numbers do rise above seven per 100,000 residents. 

Despite the numerous challenges and changes, the Board is optimistic that some form of postseason competition will be held and hopes to come to a decision that appeases a majority of the athletes and parents.