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Turlock Schools Require COVID-19 Waiver For Summer Sports Workouts

TURLOCK (CBS13) — Whether high school sports will get the go-ahead this fall is still unknown.

As some districts debate how it would work, Turlock Unified Schools have already jumped into summer workouts, but there's a catch. Parents have to sign a COVID-19 waiver, protecting the school from lawsuits.

There have been rumblings of a waiver at the college level, and now, COVID-19 "sign to play" has arrived in Turlock. The district views this as a way to move forward without really knowing the end game for fall sports. The waiver asks that a legal guardian "understand the risk to myself and my child of becoming exposed to or infected by COVID-19."

"I know that this virus is very real but I just want life to be normal again. I want my kids to be able to play. I want them to be able to be with their friends," said Breann Smith.

Smith said she will sign the waiver for her son who plays on the Turlock High School football team.

"They have to do what they have to do. Because they are liable at the end of the day. So I'm fine with signing a waiver," Smith said.

READ: Citing Recent Coronavirus Spike, San Joaquin County Scales Back On Some Phase 3 Reopening

The waiver requires parents to "release" and "hold the school harmless" for losses arising from exposure to COVID-19.

Coaches must follow safety guidelines at workouts including social distancing, checking for symptoms and not allowing athletes to share gear.

Carlos Perez's kids play baseball in Turlock. He said he would not sign the waiver.

"With all this uncertainty going on, I just couldn't sign a waiver and say what happens happens," Perez said.

CBS13 reached out to the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), which oversees high school sports. The director would not comment on whether the agency approves of districts starting summer workouts but requiring a waiver. He said it's a decision districts make on their own and that some sort of annual waiver has always been required.

State leaders won't make a final decision on having fall sports until next month, and Perez is not holding his breath.

"If we knew a vaccine was close or something where at least you have something, maybe...but for now, I wouldn't do it," he said.

Will waivers become a trend at other school districts? CBS13 talked to a spokesperson for the Sacramento Unified School District who said plans are still in development and no announcement has been made yet.

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