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Two Students Sue Newsom to Re-Launch High School Sports

by Reese Sieger

After about one year of the pandemic affecting people in many different ways, including not allowing high school sports to be played, two San Diego area high school students have sued the state and county over coronavirus restrictions on high school sports and have won. This lawsuit was part of a larger call against state leadership to allow youth sports to resume. The lawsuit does not challenge Governor Newsom’s authority to issue COVID-19 disaster declarations or executive orders, but rather focuses on the cancelation of the fall/winner 2020-21 high school sports season.

This is a picture of a poster found at a Let Them Play rally, one of the events that inspired this lawsuit to be filed.

On January 28th, a lawsuit was filed against Governor Newsom, the state health department, and the county of San Diego, seeking a temporary restraining order to allow high school competition amid the pandemic. It was filed by two football players: Nicolas Gardinera, a senior at Scripps Ranch High School, and Cameron Woolsey, a senior at Mission Hills High School.

This is a picture of running-back Cameron Woolsey (one of the two students who filed the lawsuit) during a game between Mission Hills and La Costa Canyon.

This complaint alleges that 47 other states have allowed high school sports to resume, and that there is no evidence that allowing high school sports has led to an increase in COVID-19 transmission in any of those 47 states. The plaintiffs also state that there is no reason for San Diego to allow some sectors to compete while prohibiting others. For example, they talked about how there’s no reason why professional sports, like the San Diego Padres, and college sports, like the SDSU Aztecs, can continue to fully compete, but high school teams cannot.

“If a sport is safe for college students to play when following certain protocols, it is no less safe for high school student-athletes to follow these same protocols,” the lawsuit states.

This call to action is supported by many athlete’s parents and coaches. Many guardians claim that losing sports is practically a “second pandemic” for many kids, saying that it has been very damaging to them. During a virtual news conference, which was meant to discuss more about the lawsuit, San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan made a presentation voicing concerns over the consequences of not having schools open and having youth sports on hold. She included statistics that indicated large increases in kids committing crimes, joining gangs, and becoming involved in violent activities.

Fortunately, Judge Earl Maas, the judge of the case, agreed with all of the plaintiff’s ideas as he ruled in favor of the two high school kids. He agreed that there is no reason for high school sports to stop, while college-level and professional sports continue. The state created new standards which now allow a resumption for “outdoor high-contact sports” in counties that reach an adjusted daily average of 14 new cases per 100,000 residents. As this has occurred in San Diego, we have begun to see our very own high school sports start back up. With almost all sports making a miraculous return, keep an eye out for when your sports tryouts are and how your adjusted season is going to look!

This is a picture of Judge Earl Maas before he made his ruling about high school sports being able to return.


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