Playing and staying safe; school sports and how they manage during a pandemic

As+one+of+the+fall+sports+that+can+participate+during+the+pandemic%2C+the+girls%27+golf+team+has+been+safely+competing.+

courtesy of Emily Ascher

As one of the fall sports that can participate during the pandemic, the girls’ golf team has been safely competing.

 
Deciding what to do with sports during COVID-19 has left schools conflicted. Currently Hinsdale Central is following the CDC recommendations on sports: stay home if sick; bring your own equipment; reduce physical closeness between players when possible; wear a mask if possible; clean hands before and after practices, games, and sharing equipment; and tell a coach or staff member if you don’t feel well.
 
The school has also added extra precautions. “[We’ve required athletes] to come in and do health checks,” said Dan Jones, athletic director. He said students do these checks with trainers and coaches instead of doing them at home as mandated by the state.
 
In order for schools to have some sports participate, they had to work with the state’s guidelines.
 
”First it came from the Illinois High School Association. They’re known as the IHSA. So they came up with some plans for sports and then they sent that plan to the governor’s office and to the Illinois Department of Public Health. And then between those three entities, they gave approvals for the plans and then sent those out to the schools so that the schools could decide whether or not they offer those sports or not,” Jones said.  “So then I took that plan and brought it to our school board and the principal and then they approved what the Illinois Department of Health approved.”
 
In the time since sports have started, there have been some positive cases and isolation protocols followed.
 
“A number of students have been around someone that has tested positive or there are some students who have tested positive themselves,” Jones said. 
 
When a player gets COVID or exhibits any symptoms, that player alerts the coach, who alerts the nurse, and then a procedure called tracing begins.
 
“The school nurse would work with the coaches… and talk about practices and see if the school messed up. We’d also run our tracing and all of the information we have through the DuPage County Health Department…then the school nurse would alert the students and their families,” Jones said. 
 
Many of the players have said their coaches are doing a good job at keeping all players safe.
 
“[Coaches] have done their best with their hands being tied,” said Emily Ascher, golf player.
 
Dalia Ahdab, sophomore, who is participating in basketball pre-season agreed and said, “They’re doing a really good job and the coaches are very strict and upholding all of the safety precautions.”
 
The only time some players have said they felt uncomfortable is after practice.
 
 “Outside…after practices some kids will take off their masks and put it in their bag that they brought,” Ahdab said.  “The coaches and the teachers from the practice will always come out and make sure that everybody has their masks on.”
 
Ascher, however, said that there hasn’t been a situation in which she felt uncomfortable. “Golf is such a socially distant sport that it’s kind of weird if you are like in a big group together,” Ascher said. 
 
With fall and winter approaching, some sports will only be able to be played inside. Decisions for winter sports are still pending and some fall sports have been pushed to spring.  Jones said that the decision about winter sports will be made the week of Oct. 19.