Across California on Friday, full football practice was officially allowed in counties that had reached adjusted COVID-19 case rates of 14.0 or fewer per 100,000 people. At private and public schools in Los Angeles and Orange counties, teams began a two-week preparation process for games next month. The fall season was delayed on July 30, then delayed again in December because of the coronavirus.
There are obstacles to overcome. Coaches and players must be tested weekly before playing in games. Schools are awaiting guidance from the California Department of Public Health for what happens if there’s a single positive test. One football coach says his league policy under consideration for a positive test is that the game would be canceled and the team would be sidelined for a minimum two weeks. There’s also the question of whether any spectators will be permitted at games. It will be up to schools to decide, but state guidelines recommend observation be limited to “immediate household members.”
So every game and every practice figures to be precious because no one knows how smoothly this season will proceed. For Southern Section teams, the season has to end by April 17. For the City Section, the season ends April 30, but no Los Angeles Unified School District teams are playing or practicing for now.
Jason Armond is a staff photographer at the Los Angeles Times. A native of North Carolina, he graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he received a bachelor’s in media and journalism. His work as a photographer and videographer has been recognized by the Hearst Journalism Awards, the White House News Photographers Assn. and the North Carolina College Media Assn. As a freelance visual journalist, his work has been featured in several publications before joining The Times.
Robert Gauthier has been with the Los Angeles Times since 1994. He has covered international and national stories, including Middle East conflicts in Iraq and Lebanon and catastrophes such as the Sept. 11 attack in New York and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. His assignments also include sporting events such as the Olympic Games, Super Bowls and NBA championships. Gauthier was the photographer for a story detailing the failings of a Los Angeles public hospital; the project won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for public service. Other awards include the Robert F. Kennedy, World Press, Pictures of the Year and Sigma Delta Chi. Before The Times, Gauthier worked at the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Escondido Times-Advocate and the Bernardo News in San Diego County, his hometown.
The award-winning Los Angeles Times’ photo staff works across Southern California, the state, the nation and the world to bring readers images that inform and inspire daily. A complete list of the Visual Journalism staff can be found on the Newsroom Directory. Recent galleries can be seen on our photography page.