By Ray Hamill — Here we go again.
The entire local high school basketball season is now in jeopardy just days before the first scheduled games because of a California Department of Public Health mandate.
The CDPH is requiring all K-12 players, coaches and officials to wear masks during games, which is different to the college game, where players and officials don’t have to wear masks.
It’s also different to what was mandated during the shortened spring high school season of 2020/21, and while local officials are not required to wear masks while officiating College of the Redwoods games, they are now required to do so for high school competition.
Because of the inconsistencies, the local officials association has said it will not be officiating high school games until the mandate changes.
“Our association is a group of independent contractors, and we offer them games to work and they decide if they want to or not,” head of officials for the H-DNL Rollin Trehearne said. “Of the 30 officials I have (this season), maybe only six are willing to work with a mask.”
And that means no high school games, unless local health officials overrule the state-wide mandate the way a growing number of other counties have opted to do.
Butte County health officials announced they would not be requiring masks for players or officials because masks are considered a choking hazard.
According to a Butte County Public Health Administration officials statement, they have determined “wearing masks while playing indoor basketball could pose a choking hazard, as well as potential injuries, to students during play. As such, the sport of basketball is waived from (CDPH) requirement for indoor mask use for students during play.”
The H-DNL will meet on Wednesday to discuss the issue and league commissioner Jack Lakin will meet with Humboldt County health officials later in the day.
It is widely hoped they will follow the lead of other counties and opt to overrule the CDPH mandate.
“We have officials ready to go, ready to jump on games,” Trehearne said.
The first local games of the season are scheduled for Friday night in Hoopa, when the Arcata boys and girls teams travel to play the Warriors.