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Stanislaus County criticizing new sports guidelines for being less restrictive than school reopening guidelines

According to new youth sports guidelines, high-contact sports can be played with case rates of 14 cases per 100,000, while schools can't reopen until 7 per 100,000.

STANISLAUS COUNTY, Calif. — Stanislaus County officials are excited about the new less restrictive guidelines for opening up youth sports, but disappointed at how much less restrictive they are than opening schools.

"We are disheartened with the misalignment, as junior high and high school campuses remain unable to open in the purple tier,” Scott Kuykendall, Stanislaus County Superintendent of Schools, said in a press release.

Schools can't reopen until the county hits the red tier and has a case rate of seven cases per 100,000 people, which is much more restrictive than the new youth sports guidelines.

The new guidelines say that outdoor high-contact sports, like football, basketball and rugby, can be played in counties in the purple or red tiers with case rates of less than 14 cases per 100,000 people. The athletes, 13 or older, and coaches would also have to get tested once per week if they play.

Stanislaus County's case rate is still over this new threshold to go back to playing sports, with the case rate at 21.7 cases per 100,000 as of Saturday.

But the county is still upset that the state is the only entity with the power to reopen schools and start sports again. The Stanislaus County Office of Education and the Stanislaus County Health Services Agency are unable to overrule the state's guidelines.

"The path to opening our schools to in-person learning is clear. We must take all actions to slow spread so that we can meet the criteria set forward in the State guidance and open our schools,” Dr. Julie Vaishampayan, Stanislaus County Public Health Officer, said in the press release.

Dr. Vaishampayan and Superintendent Kuykendall both say that schools should be "the first to open and the last to close, and are committed to opening schools as quickly and safely as possible."

The county is asking the state to work with them to give Stanislaus County some flexibility in reopening their schools to get students back on campus.

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