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Tight guidelines for indoor sports

Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune

Madera South’s Jared Guglielmana puts down a kill during a match against Clovis North last year. It was was on the last sporting events played in 2020 as schools and athletics stopped on March 12.


California Governor Gavin Newsom made many parents of student-athletes happy last week by giving the okay to allow indoor athletics to begin practice and, eventually, competition.

“The indoor sports, as long as they are in Purple Tier or below, can participate as long as you follow the NCAA guidelines,” said Marty Bitter, Madera Unified School District Director of Athletics.

However, with the okay, the Governor laid down some guidelines that will be tough to achieve.

“Here’s the hard part,” Bitter said. “The caveat is the NCAA rules are guiding this. With all of your kids, you have to do a PCR test, which is the more reliable COVID-19 test. It’s the more reliable test and takes 48 hours to get a result. If you had all negatives, you have to do an antigen test, daily, with your student athletes. As long as they remain negative, they can practice or go to a game. If an antigen test comes back positive, then they have to take a PCR test and remain isolated until they get their results.”

The bottom line that many parents or school districts haven’t seen is the amount of tests each athlete will have to go through in order to play.

“All of these kids have to be tested daily,” Bitter said. “The state is not paying for that. Either it comes out of their pocket, school districts pay or insurance pays.”

There is a light at the end of the tunnel for sports like boys and girls volleyball and boys and girls basketball to take the court, but it still may take some time.

“It’s going to be extremely difficult to get going,” Bitter said. “It will be difficult to get the manpower to be able to test daily and get lab results. The cost to families will be expensive.”

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