Due to confirmed COVID-19 outbreaks, Henrico County Public Schools (HCPS) was obligated to cancel Winter sports, but spring sports at DSF are set to occur in the spring.
With the onset of these sports, new safety precautions will be taken, according to Suzanne Criswell, Freeman’s Activities Director. The rules and regulations were written out on a document that “ended up being 26 pages long.” Included in these pages are the expectations that “students are screened prior to each workout,” said Ms. Criswell. In addition to this, Ms. Criswell said that, “they have to wear masks at all times, unless involved in high intensity activities.”
Athletes are going beyond the six feet mandate, instead they are required to remain ten 10 feet apart at all times. In accordance with VHSL guidelines, they are being separated into “pods” of ten 10 people and one coach. If they plan on using equipment in the weight room, the new standard is that they must sanitize each piece of equipment. Ms. Criswell explained that these rules are, “just a few of the mitigations that have to be followed.”
Despite all of these safety measures, there’s always the possibility that someone on the team could contract COVID-19. If an outbreak occurs, Ms. Criswell said, “Freeman would follow CDC guidelines.” This means that sports would shut down for a 14- day quarantine period. As far as competitions, Ms. Criswell said, “if an opposing team contracted COVID-19, that would affect the ability to play.” Student athletes are also expected to abide by the guidelines. Freshman lacrosse player Maggie Jacoby said she will, “protect herself and others,” as she follows the rules laid out for teams. Junior softball player Ellie Holloway said she will “try her best to be sanitary and healthy,” so that this way, she can “make this almost normal for the team.”
Maggie said she is “a little nervous.” She said she has “no idea what to expect;” having said that, she is “excited to take the step forward.” Ellie said she is “pretty nervous, because [she] live[s] with [her] grandparents, and doesn’t want to get them sick.” Like Maggie, she “hopes [the team] they can have a successful season.”
The change in sports will affect not only the players, but the games as well. “I think that sports will be harder,” said Ellie. “We have to run bases and tag others, and if someone has COVID, it could spread easily through both teams.” Maggie expressed these concerns when she said, “a lot of sports require physical contact or being within 6 feet.”
While fear has been expressed over the upcoming season, Maggie said she is “trying to stay optimistic, because that’s the best way to get through these crazy times.”