Written by Carter Cox (Sports Editor)
During these COVID-19 times for high school sports in California, it has been truly challenging for athletes to prepare for a season that might not happen. Originally practices were supposed to start-up in Santa Cruz no earlier than December 14th. But a few days ago news was released that SLV practices are starting back up on October 26th for conditioning practices. It won’t be the same as normal practices, but it gives athletes a chance to practice for potentially the upcoming season.
Many are happy, but nervous about getting the coronavirus, since it is in the middle of a pandemic. However, Santa Cruz is on the mandatory level. This means that not as many people get coronavirus than other counties in California. It is on the second level of the four levels for counties in California.
The idea for sports returning has a lot of hope in it, but there are some concerns of course. “I am truly optimistic about going back to doing sports practices but there are some concerns for sure. If everyone does the safety procedures to stay socially distanced from other people. It might go smoothly. I truly hope everyone the best and I am excited for sports to go back up and running,” says the athletic director, Christopher Coulson. “I’ve been working hard to make a 10/26 start date a reality for our student-athletes. It is not finalized yet but I’m doing everything I can to make it work. I am 100% in support of it. I think it would be great to be able to offer our students a higher level of support structure and support around their athletic endeavors that in-person work provides. I know everyone will take all the necessary precautions and follow all the recommendations on social distancing to ensure we provide a safe practice environment. On a more personal level, I miss seeing our student-athletes out there working, so it will bring me great personal satisfaction to see that again.”
The SLV fans are super excited that instead of starting in the winter they are starting in the fall for practices. Many people in Sports PE are hoping that it counts as PE credit, here is what Mr. Coulson has this to say about it: “As far as Sports PE credit, we will see after it gets up and running but it likely will.”
The rules of what the athletes, coaches, and the school has to do to start sports back up are first the sports that are meeting can only meet from one hour from Monday to Thursday. The athletes and coaches must wear masks at all times to protect other people from coronavirus. In the practices, none of them are allowed indoors, and are only allowed outside.
There can only be sixteen people (including coaches) in a practice at a time, and athletes are only allowed to practice for one sport. In the practices, no one is allowed to have physical contact with other athletes. In between workouts, the coaches have to make sure the equipment and facility are clean and sanitized.
Throughout the practice, different hygiene places will be available for the athletes in the building. Every practice the coaches will check people’s temperatures, and if they have too high, they cannot attend practice. If the athlete ever happens to not make it to practice and wants to go with a different workout group, they cannot; they have to stay only in their cohort pod. Everyone has to stay with the same workout group every practice.
If the athletes can’t abide by the rules of social distancing, then teams might not be able to practice anymore. If there isn’t enough room for social distance, then the minimum amount of sixteen people rule would be decreased so people can maintain their social distance to stay safe. The only sports that are allowed to do practices in the fall are the sports that were supposed to happen in the fall but were moved to winter. All of the practices athletes don’t have to go; it is the athlete’s personal choice to go.
If, for instance, someone happened to get coronavirus in the group of sixteen people or if anyone shows signs that they may have coronavirus the group, the group of sixteen will not be able to practice for fourteen days and has to quarantine from others. After fourteen days or if they don’t have coronavirus anymore they will be allowed to start back up. The schools will take everyone’s temperature and make sure to record it, to make sure no one has coronavirus and people can stay safe.
They want to make sure that no one gets coronavirus by making sure that everything is cleaned thoroughly. A health expert will help and coaches will make sure everyone is safe in the process. Health experts will help to make sure that if anyone has coronavirus they will give the practice group a plan and advice. Widespread coronavirus throughout the school could potentially end sports if people don’t abide by the rules. However, if people follow the precautions, then it might work. Many believe that it will work well while others think the opposite or have mixed feelings about this.
Last, the plan that was laid out by many people questioned whether it is going to be effective to stay safe while being able to play sports. Aptos, Santa Cruz and Soquel High Schools recently allowed their athletes to do workouts with the same rules. So far, no one has been reported with having coronavirus in the workouts or have not followed the rules. SLV students have a hope that it will be safe because of this. Recently many have been concerned that there is going to be a rise in coronavirus cases in California. Which could put the plan at risk since it might not be safe. There are a lot of restrictions and implications for trying to make it so that people can stay safe; for example, the regular temperature check and having records of it. One of the scariest things about the virus is that you might not be able to tell if someone has coronavirus. However, the coaches will make sure that no one practices who show symptoms of it. Stay positive, take the right precautions and sports practices are going to start back up.