New protocols put seasons in limbo


Art by Maggie Miller

As yet another day of the “new normal” passes, the athletic department has continued to work to make sports feasible.  With the number of COVID-19 cases reaching new heights, many perspiring athletes have had no choice but to sit back and pray that their seasons might continue.  Luckily, four fall sports were given clearance to play. The athletic department moved forward with the idea of contact days to get athletes practicing again. Taking extra precautionary measures, for example, extra temperature checks, masks and social distancing enforced, and wiping down equipment after use, coaches and players have been able to get back on the fields.  

As successful as these seasons and contact days have been, they are not exempt from the school and athletic department’s COVID-19 policies.  The policies state that if there are more than three unrelated cases in the span of 2 weeks, the school must close, all extra-curricular must stop, and students must quarantine. 

During the shutdown period in early October, all fall sports were forced to stop practices. Consequently, this greatly hindered athletes preparing for their anticipated postseasons, and even stopped the girls tennis season.

For the girls swim team, the two week quarantine required them to drop out of their conference championships, and for varsity swimmers, it took away two weeks of training before their sectional championship. 

“The break [threw] us off our game,” said sophomore Louisa Battin. “We were supposed to be starting harder practices leading up to a taper, but instead we were left with no training for weeks. I believe we would have performed at a higher level if the quarantine never occurred.”

 Several athletes and coaches alike find the protocol frustrating and believe different protocols could be put in place while still maintaining safety as a priority. 

“It makes sense in terms of being as safe as possible, but I think the decision could be made on a team by team level,” said head swim coach and math teacher Mr. Mike Miklius ‘04. “I don’t think that golf–for example–ever becomes dangerous and could go on in basically any scenario. It has a natural ‘social distance’ built into it. I think the same is largely true with swimming…While I understand why the school shuts down at times, I wish teams with no exposure were still able to meet and practice.”

However, for the most part, students are understanding of the difficult situation the school is in, and are determined to make the most out of this paranormal time. Due to being one of the few schools practicing full in-person learning in the area, this presents a need for increased precautionary measures and stricter guidelines in light of three positive cases. 

“In this situation, I believe it is right to shut down all extracurriculars because if someone involved happened to come into contact with [the virus], they could spread it to both teammates and possibly to other teams,” said junior Paige Dzierzak. 

“I think that if [athletes] who got tested and received negative results were able to continue on, it would have been better,” said senior swim captain Beth Warren. “[However], I prioritize the health and safety of our community.”