Sports face an unpredictable future at Webb and other schools

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With a new season of Webb sports still up in the air, coaches and players are left undecided as to how they should prepare 

Given the uncertainty of the pandemic, schools and students across California are anxious as to when institutions will reopen. As it has been over eight months since the onslaught of the coronavirus, students have been very optimistic to return, and one important step is resuming sports practices.  

According to The National Federation of State High School Associations, students are permitted to compete if they wear masks and maintain social distancing guidelines according to the CDC. They should travel separately while on their way to games, as opposed to driving on a bus, to limit student contact. 

While these guidelines only limit the contact between students, they do not eliminate risk entirely. Common school sports such as football, basketball, volleyball, badminton, and soccer, to name a few, tend to see students sharing equipment as a potential source of viral transmission. For example, football or basketball players who compete on a small court or field can only train and condition instead of competing.  

Here at Webb, sports for the fall season have been effectively postponed due to the Coronavirus; a possible second wave of the virus challenges Webb’s goal of bringing students back safely.  

“Covid has definitely complicated high school sports, especially mine,” said Aiden Hall (‘24), a student at Summit High School. We had started in person practice about a month ago, only to be shut down again.”  

This has not stopped students from practicing on their own, however, as some students share a positive outlook for Webb sports when the school returns.  

“Since Webb hasn’t been having in person practices due to Covid-19, I’ve been working out at home and with a few of my teammates,” Jake Baiz (‘21) said. This season means a lot to me since it’s my last season, and I want to show out as best as I can for my school.”  

With speculation of Webb sports practices starting as early as December, many students worry about the consequences of having to practice while also maintaining CDC guidelines. This creates doubt towards the future of competitions since the chances of having a competitive season against other schools are slim to none.        

On the other hand, many believe that Webb would be able to effectively create a safe environment for students to practice their sports 

“I do feel our school is prepared to start sports,” Maksym Graham (‘23) said. Many other sports outside of school have already started having games and tournaments which leads me to believe we can too.”  

If Webb practices were to be cancelled, the prospect of schools participating in competitions would be hopeless, as seasons were originally expected to start soon. According to CIF, the regulatory body for interscholastic sports in California, starting dates fall within the months of December 2020 and January 2021.  

This would mean teams would have to meet in an extremely short periods of time, have an efficient practice while following CDC guidelines, and prepare to take on other schools, all within the next month or two.  

“Although we have not had a lot of preparation as a team together, I feel like we would be ready to kick off the season, Maksym said.   

Webb has been cautious to return to inperson practice, and rightly so as COVID-19 cases are spiking. Other schools, however, have adopted a more aggressive policy towards getting back to practice. Sean York (‘23), an athlete at Upland High School, describes his school’s policy towards practicing in midst of a pandemic.   

I think that my school’s done a good job at adjusting to COVID-19,Sean said. We’ve been having practices for I think around a month. Everybody has been social distancing, and all the coaches wear masks as well. While I’m not at school, I’ll either lift weights at my house or work with a few teammates to stay ahead of the game and tackle this season.   

It is important to remember that different counties have different policies when it comes to dealing with the pandemic, which is probably the largest factor that will affect how schools approach their returntoplay policy.  

So, are we ready for a new season of Webb sports? The answer to this question remains to be seen, but at the end of the day, we all need to remember that the health and safety of our players, coaches, and all their families, is, and always will be, our number one priority. It is vitally important to maintain social distancing guidelines, to wear a mask, and to stay in shape, not only for the health of others, but for our own health too.  

The sources mentioned in this article contain useful information regarding the specificities of competitions, conditioning, training that fall under the CDC’s guidelines.