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After a member of the Girls’ JV Basketball team tested positive for COVID-19 many athletes reconsider playing a winter sport
December 25, 2020
After a player on the girls’ basketball team tested positive for COVID-19, the Junior Varsity and Freshman/Sophomore teams were told they had to quarantine for two weeks. Since then, two more players on the team have tested positive.
While a similar situation has not occurred for the girls’ swimming and diving team, many of the divers feel unsafe at practice.
Junior diver, Willa Melander said, “I’m really worried about getting COVID-19 through diving. I’m afraid of spreading it to my family members, causing them to get really sick. I know many of the other divers feel the same way.”
Melander attributes the fact that they are inside to her feeling unsafe.
“I played field hockey in the fall and I felt much safer there than I do at diving,” Melander said. “We were outside at field hockey and could easily space ourselves apart, so I felt pretty safe. It is much harder to social distance at diving since we are inside and are all waiting in line for one board.”
Adelaide Griffey, who also played field hockey in the fall and is a member of the girls’ JV basketball team, agrees with Melander.
“Field hockey is a moderate contact sport that can easily be distanced and it takes place in the cool outdoors. Basketball, on the other hand, is a high contact sport that takes place in the warm indoors. I felt a lot safer playing field hockey this fall because of the spread-out nature of the sport,” Griffey said.
For in-person school, everyone has to stay six feet apart and wear masks at all times. While at sports, especially high-frequency contact sports, the players come within close contact of each other for longer than 15 minutes.
Junior diver, Abby Sucher said, “I feel much safer at school than I do at diving. If I were to get coronavirus, I think diving will definitely be the cause of it.”
However, the school district has placed many safety measures to prevent an outbreak happening within sports.
The swimming and diving team has split up practice in different sessions to try and mitigate the risk of exposure. The divers are split into two groups, with a group of five divers diving first and a second group of three divers practicing second. They also wear their masks whenever they are not on the board.
Similarly, the basketball teams have to wear their masks at all times. Teams also practice separately to reduce the number of people each player comes in contact with.
Some players think the district should be doing more.
Sophomore Isabel Erdmann said, “I think the district needs to find a way to provide students and athletes with access to tests because it is very hard to find a place to get one, which obviously increases the likelihood of the virus spreading if you don’t know you have it.”
Having to quarantine and miss the season for two weeks can easily damper all the training a team has already done. To avoid that, the girls’ basketball team held daily zoom workouts.
“It was nice just seeing everyone in the same situation and state of uncertainty. We were able to empathize with each other,” Griffey said. “It was also nice to be able to keep up with our conditioning while still seeing each other.”
Similarly, many of the divers work out on their own when they feel unsafe attending practice.
Winter sports have definitely created a conundrum.
“It’s really hard because I want to keep my family safe, but I want to continue diving because I love it. Seeing everyone at diving everyday really helps to keep my spirits up during this hard time,” Melander said.
While many athletes are quitting their sport for this year to remain safe, others feel that the risks Covid-19 offers don’t outweigh the opportunities for social interaction through their sport.
“While it is scary knowing that someone I’m standing next to could have COVID-19, I would never quit my sports for it,” Sucher said.