BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Sports locally and throughout the state have been impacted due to the rise in COVID-19 cases. This news broke while Centennial High School football coach Richard Starrett was in the middle of practice with his team, and he had to break it to his players.
The Kern High School District announced Tuesday it is pausing all in-person activity on campus across all of their schools, and that includes sports activity. Along with that information, the California Interscholastic Federation also announced that they're suspending practices and competition, until at least Jan. 1, 2021, waiting on updated sports guidelines.
"It's really hard to remain optimistic," said Stan Greene, KHSD Director of School Support Services. "That's something that we really have to strive for is to be optimistic about you know what could possibly happen."
Greene, who oversees athletics for the KHSD, said the decision to stop sports activity with no set return date was not an easy one but believes it's the right move as cases continue to surge throughout California.
"We're going to do everything we can to everything we can control to get our kids the opportunity to play," Greene said. "That's our objective is to give them, you know, one more night."
Greene echoed how coaches feel having to delay the start of a season once again, like Centennial High School's Head Football Coach Richard Starrett who said it was tough to break the news to his team.
"A lot of these kids, and you can say it may not be right, their grades are better because they haven't dangled the carrot of a football season that they have to be eligible for and the fact that that might get taken away from them is going to be tough on them," Starrett said.
Starrett hopes he can keep his players motivated throughout this school year.
"I'm gonna stay in contact and I'm gonna keep pushing them but it was not easy," said Starrett. "I can tell you that it wasn't easy looking them in the eyes and all I can say is that, January 1 is not forever. So we get another decision on January 1st and we're just hoping for the best."
Above KHSD, the CIF announced its decision to postpone full practices and competition until the new year along with canceling regional and state championships. While Central Section Commissioner Ryan Tos confirmed that there is still is a chance for sectional playoffs.
"At this point in time, we have not canceled any of those. And so they could make strong recommendations, but at the end of the day, we have some autonomy at the local level to handle things as we wish," Tos said. "As we're able to, and beyond that our leagues will have the opportunity to make their own decisions as well on a lot of the regular season contests."
The overall consensus from the reactions of coaches is that they're just trying to hold on to the hope that they're going to get to play some sort of season by the end of the school year.
Coaches said they've dealt with the uncertainty and the back and forth decision making, but again, they're all waiting on these updated guidelines from the state.