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Santa Maria high schools plan on resuming athletic activities as early as July 6
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Santa Maria high schools plan on resuming athletic activities as early as July 6

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The pool at Pioneer Valley High School is empty after all scheduled athletic events were canceled because of coronavirus concerns. After an initial delay, the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District is developing a plan to have students back on campus for workouts as soon as July 6.

The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District announced Thursday that a plan is in place to have student-athletes return to campus for workouts as soon as July 6. 

In a statement released Thursday, the district says a committee made up of site administrators and athletic directors has developed a plan for athletes to return to physical training early next month.

The district said the plan "adheres to guidance provided by the State of California, SB County, California Department of Education (CDE), National Federation of High Schools (NFHS), and the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF)," and that "athletic directors will begin holding coaches meetings to review new rules with an implementation start date of July 6-17."

The district said the committee began working on the details in mid-June. The plan was brought to the Superintendent Cabinet for approval Tuesday.

“This is a very detailed and methodical process to safely start conditioning and training with the hope of bringing students back to a physical activity mode and the eventual return to organized athletic contests,’’ assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction John Davis said in the press release. “We are taking prudent and safe steps.’’

Last week, some school officials said the district was lagging behind other area schools who had plans in place to have students on campus, but the district began to move on a plan after urging from athletic directors and county officials. 

"I'm thankful for county leadership and the direction they’ve provided us for moving forward," Pioneer Valley athletic director Jeff Monteiro said in a story that published in the Times on Jan. 19, adding that parents, coaches and student-athletes can be assured that he, and he believes the district, will take the necessary steps to have school sports if the conditions allow amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"We are going to do everything in our power to provide athletic opportunities that are granted to us under the state of California, the state CIF and the county of Santa Barbara, following the direction of our school officials," Monteiro said last week. 

The CIF State office said it will determine by July 20 if the fall season of sports will go ahead as scheduled. The high school football season is slated to start Friday, Aug. 21. The last athletic events within the district were held March 11. School was suspended March 16 and ultimately all events and in-class instruction were canceled for the remainder of the school year due to the pandemic.

Regardless of whether sports resume or not, uncertainty surrounds athletics in the district.

Documents obtained from the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District Faculty Association say the district will cut funding for the athletic director position down to a 0.6 full-time equivalence at each site, indicating the district anticipates its three ADs potentially having fewer athletic responsibilities.

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