SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A group of high school coaches calling for youth sports to resume around California has sent a letter to Gov. Newsom to remove youth sports from the state's reopening tiers.
The group, Let Them Play CA, sent the letter to Newsom asking for sports to start up again and said their data shows that youth sports "does not pose any significant COVID risk to the participants, or the community at large."
The group is also asking the state to remove youth sports from the state's color-coded reopening tier system entirely.
"The current youth sports’ colored-tiered system is disconnected from real data available. The outcome of this system is a rapid decline in the mental health of all children who play youth sports in our state," the group's letter said. "This system creates a rapidly growing socio-economic disparity between those that can afford private schools, those that live in higher economic school districts, and those who can afford club teams, [who] are traveling outside the state by the thousands every week in violation of the current order."
Let Them Play CA says the evidence that they can safely resume sports relies on data from more than 40 other states that have resumed youth sports, high school football workouts from more than 275 state high schools, and impacts on mental health and low-income children.
"We are confident that our data in these four areas will convince you that California can safely and quickly return to competition with reasonable COVID-19 safety modifications," the group's letter stated.
Read the group's letter below:
California issued guidance in December saying inter-team competitions would be allowed to resume on Jan. 25, at the earliest. However this week, State Department of Public Health Secretary Mark Ghaly said California's current surge in coronavirus cases has delayed that plan.
Ghaly added that officials are still working with youth sports leaders on when and how youth sports can resume safely.
"We're working with a number of different partners and youth sports leaders, including CIF, on high school, interscholastic sports to determine how the current conditions across the state impact that start date. Don't want to get too far ahead of those conversations, so we'll update you soon on that," Ghaly said during a Jan. 19 press conference. "Obviously, the state of the surge and the conditions in many, many of our communities are pretty dire, pretty significant. So we're trying to work with those different partners to make sure that we land in a place that allows us to do what we've always wanted to do, which was resume activities that so many people miss, but do it safely."