90.1 FM San Luis Obispo | 91.7 FM Paso Robles | 91.1 FM Cayucos | 95.1 FM Lompoc | 90.9 FM Avila
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
KCBX News aims to provide our audience with the latest local and regional information and updates on the coronavirus and COVID-19. We will update this post as new information becomes available.Click on the link in the county name to find important public health resources in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Monterey counties.Click HERE to view a COVID-19 case map of San Luis Obispo County.CLICK HERE TO SEE A TIMELINE ARCHIVE OF EARLIER CORONAVIRUS-RELATED INFORMATION.

Winter youth sports restart with health precautions

Templeton Recreation department
While games, scrimmages and competitions are not allowed, youth soccer leagues offering 'Pod Play' focused on individual skill development.

Youth sports competitions are still prohibited in California due to COVID-19 restrictions. But recreation departments throughout SLO County say they have been getting creative in finding ways for children to get athletic.

Across the U.S., California, New Mexico and Illinois have banned youth sports from competing. Michelle Shoresman with SLO County Public Health said sporting restrictions are not up to individual counties to decide.

“As with many other areas of COVID-19 guidance, we are following the states orders and youth sports are no different,” Shoresman said.

The recent update to state health guidelines allows youth sports to resume, but not in the traditional way. 

“The main premises are as long as activities are conducted outside, they are in small cohorts or pods and aiz feet of distance can be maintained [they are allowed]," Shoresman said. "Those are kind of the basic concepts.”

Melissa Johnson with the Templeton Recreation Department said after reading through the rules, it took a lot of brainstorming, but she and other staff came up with the idea of ‘pod play,' a no-contact way of getting kids to do drills and practice without physical contact.

“It’s difficult at times," Johnson said.  "I don’t know if you have ever had to keep a group of ten-year-olds away from each other, but it works well.”

Johnson said Templeton was the first in the county to offer pod play and worked with other recreation departments such as those in San Luis Obispo and Atascadero on implementing the idea. Now, cities across the county are starting up winter pod play programs for soccer, basketball and softball. 

“Kids between the ages of five and 12 should be in the best shape of their lives," Johnson said. "We are not going to get that if they don’t go play. It doesn’t have to be organized youth sports, they just need to play.”

Johnson said although sports look much different right now, she’s relieved recreation departments can continue with some programs after months of closure. 

“We have been given an opportunity here to do something," Johnson said. "It might not be enough. But something is always better than nothing. Let's turn this into a hugely positive program.”

Shoresman said adult recreational team sports are still not permitted at this time, and that the state guidelines may change depending on what happens with COVID numbers throughout the state.

Angel Russell is a former KCBX News reporter who started her career in journalism as a reporter and producer for KREX on Colorado's Western Slope; she later moved to the Central Coast to work for KSBY as weekend anchor and weekday reporter. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, and playing guitar and piano.
Related Content