SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) – California health officials announced Friday that cheerleaders will be allowed at outdoor high school sporting events, reversing a previous decision posted earlier this week.
In a statement to KPIX 5, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) said that sideline cheer is allowable under the state’s youth and adult recreational sports guidelines. “Sideline cheer is considered comparable to competitive cheer as a moderate-contact sport and should follow all requirements of other outdoor moderate-contact sports,” the agency said.
Under the state’s guidelines for moderate-contact sports, informed consent is required from parents, while face coverings, physical distancing, testing, and enhanced hygiene and sanitation procedures are strongly encouraged.
Youth sports advocates voiced concerns after CDPH issued guidance on Tuesday which said, “Sideline cheer, band, drumline or other supporting groups are not allowed to attend sporting events at this time.”
The guidance updated Friday afternoon explicitly states that sideline cheer is allowed. Meanwhile, the latest guidelines still do not allow bands, drumlines and other supporting groups at high school athletic contests.
CDPH’s previous decision also captured the attention of Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) who criticized the guidance before Friday’s reversal.
I was a cheerleader, a cheer coach and a cheer Mom. Cheerleaders understand strict rules, spacing and safety. Barring outdoor sideline cheerleaders, who can safely distance themselves from one another & wear masks, shows a disregard for these (mostly) young women.
— Lorena Gonzalez (@LorenaSGonzalez) March 19, 2021
“Barring outdoor sideline cheerleaders, who can safely distance themselves from one another & wear masks, shows a disregard for these (mostly) young women,” Gonzalez said in a series of tweets. “I’m not arguing that CDPH shouldn’t have guidelines for safety, but this prohibition appears to be taking the easy way out.”