Winter sports expect chilling changes

Several covid protocols have been put in place this season


Photo provided via McLean Athletics

Basketball tryouts began this week with coronavirus precautions. Tryouts will last throughout the week in the gym.

Nicky Varela, Managing Editor

The Winter sports season has finally arrived. Athletes from basketball to gymnastics can finally show off their skills and escape the stress created by online school. However, alongside the introduction of sports for the 2020-2021 school year, coronavirus protocols have been put in place.

Director of Student Activities Greg Miller, Assistant Director of Student Activities Tzeitel Barcus, and Head Athletic Trainer Michael Tierney directed a Town Hall Meeting for parents and athletes interested in winter sports on Thursday, Dec. 3. Miller mainly led the presentation, which went over coronavirus strategies that will be implemented this season.

Miller started off by describing what coaches and athletes must do themselves in order to ensure their safety. Athletes and coaches must wear a mask and social distance at home and at school. In addition, a positive case from a single athlete can lead to their entire team being “paused” for two weeks.

As for pre-activity screening, athletes will have a health questionnaire and a temperature check prior to every practice. If a student does not pass the screening, they will be asked to go home. Athletes cannot return to practice until cleared by a doctor.

The indoor facilities are to be cleaned both before and after practices and games. Equipment will be cleaned throughout practices by coaches, as well. Athletes will be given breaks throughout practices in order to sanitize and wash their hands.

Face masks have become a staple in the world for the past throughout 2020. Miller addressed the news rules regarding mask-wearing for athletes.

“Face masks are to be worn at all times, except when athletes are actively engaged in physical activity,” said Miller during the presentation.

Social distancing measures are being put in place as well, especially regarding buses, which will only carry up to 23 people. McLean will rely on athletes or parents/guardians who can drive to sign permission slips that allow them to go to games without the need of a bus.

A major change for athletes is that water will not be provided for them during practices, as students must bring their own water bottles. However, water is expected to be available for games. Non-touch water fountains will, of course, still be available inside the school.

Perhaps the most surprising coronavirus measure is the addition of care rooms. These rooms are provided for non-driving students who start to feel ill during a game or practice. Athletes will be kept in these rooms until a parent or guardian can pick them up.

Unfortunately, as of right now, spectators are not allowed into the facilities. Thankfully, a plan is being developed that can allow up to 25 spectators for games, with those spectators mainly being made up of parents/guardians. Miller stated that McLean is hoping to be able to live stream all events in the gym.

More information about the winter sports season and future sports registration can be found below.