Dear Damien Families,
It is my hope along with all those here at Damien High School, that you and your families are healthy and continuing to move forward during these challenging times. All of us have experienced losses during the past year and we continue to pray for healing, hope, and a future that will allow us to come back to campus, participate in co-curricular activities, and return to competition.
Today, I am writing to update you on the latest information and guidance provided by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the Department of Catholic Schools regarding athletic conditioning, competition, and participation in multiple sport and club teams. Over the past two months, we have received multiple inquiries and engaged in several discussions about what is allowed (and not allowed) in reference to student-athletes conditioning with multiple school teams on the same day, week, or month. Additionally, we have fielded questions as to whether Damien High School would sponsor club teams and how club team activities (practices and competition) affect student-athletes.
Let me begin with the current orders regarding team competition in the State of California. Currently, high school inter-team competitions (i.e., between two teams) are subject to the California Department of Public Health Youth Sports Guidelines. These guidelines are tied to the CA color-coded county tier classifications. The status of return-to-competition is subject to change at any time given the level of COVID-19 transmission in California. At this time, given the modified athletic season developed by CIF, only cross-country meets are permitted in the Purple Tier. If an athletic competition occurs outside of these guidelines, then it is in violation of State Public Health Orders.
In addition, both high school and club athletic teams have been directed, via current State and LA County health orders, not to travel out of state to participate in team competition as there have been several outbreaks of Covid tied to interstate travel. If traveling out of state for any reason, a 14-day quarantine period is required upon return to CA.
With respect to participating in multiple sports, the current State and LA County guidelines require student-athletes to cohort with a single team. In order to preserve the ability to contact trace and limit potential spread, teams must practice in separate individual cohorts. Allowing students to participate in football today and baseball tomorrow violates the separate cohort health order. This is true of coaching staff as well: coaches may only coach a single sport during a given period as they are considered members of team cohorts. If a student-athlete or coach choses to change from one sport to another, they would need to complete a 14-day quarantine prior to joining the new team cohort.
Finally, we acknowledge that there are many questions related to participation on club teams. Currently, Damien High School is committed to facilitating athletics participation within the context of our established school programs and teams. At this time, Damien High School is not sponsoring or sanctioning any club teams. While we cannot control what occurs once a student leaves campus, the administration and coaching staff at Damien are required to adhere to current State and LA County guidelines as outlined above. As such, we are required to adhere to the policy that requires student-athletes and coaches to quarantine for 14-days prior to practicing with a DHS team if they are practicing or competing with a club team. We ask that individual student-athletes who are in this position to adhere to this policy as well.
We continue to monitor changes in the health orders from state and county officials in addition to policies from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Department of Catholic Schools. Our hope is that restrictions will ease as we move forward. In the meantime, we will continue to facilitate conditioning and skill-building workouts on-campus while following all necessary safety protocols.
I invite you to review the attached letter from Dr. Dan O’Connell, Deputy Superintendent of High Schools, which provides more information regarding the information outlined in this letter.
The Damien Community and I are thankful for your support moving forward. We understand and empathize with the ongoing frustrations that many are feeling and we will continue to address the daily concerns of your sons and our community. We are prepared and optimistic about being allowed to return to campus once current orders are rescinded.
Please continue to pray for your sons and our Damien community, continue to raise your prayers to heaven for God’s Divine intervention for all who are suffering.
I will continue to pray for your families.
Pray for Us!
Dr. Joseph Siegmund
President Damien High School