LAUSD suspends sports conditioning amid coronavirus surge

LAUSD Supt. Austin Beutnertalking with Taft football coach Aron Gideon.
LAUSD Supt. Austin Beutner, left, talking with Taft football coach Aron Gideon last month after students were allowed to return to campuses for football conditioning.
(Eric Sondheimer / Los Angeles Times)

Less than a month after high schools received approval to begin sports conditioning on campuses, the Los Angeles Unified School District announced Monday it is suspending conditioning and closing campuses because of a surge in coronavirus cases.

Supt. Austin Beutner made the announcement that campuses would be closed by Thursday. More than 50 schools had received approval to begin conditioning. The high school sports season was supposed to begin Dec. 14 for City Section schools with football practices but that was delayed last week when the state’s governing body for high school sports, the California Interscholastic Federation, announced it does next expect to receive an update on a youth sports guidance from the California Department of Health until next year.

Coaches are expected to return to relying on video conference calls to stay connected with athletes and encourage them to engage in physical conditioning.

The state youth sports guidance continues to allow conditioning with safety protocols. It has not been updated since Aug. 3. The CIF expects to make an announcement by Jan. 19 how to proceed with the delayed high school sports season.


Garfield coach Lorenzo Hernandez said his football team was able to get in four conditioning sessions.

“We’ll know more in January when we revisit this thing,” he said. “I’m sure a couple of the kids are going to be disappointed, but a lot of them are mindful what’s happening in the community.”

Several schools never were able to complete LAUSD paperwork and testing protocols to start up conditioning on campus.

Many schools around the Southland will be halting conditioning during Christmas break. The Foothill League in the Santa Clarita Valley will be off from Dec. 21 through Jan. 3.

Trinity League football coaches held a conference call on Monday with Southern Section commissioner Rob Wigod but no decision was made how to proceed. There has been growing pressure among parents and players to investigate club football because of concerns the high school season might not take place.

“We are 100% behind CIF and education-based athletics,” said St. John Bosco football coach Jason Negro.