As fall sports end, winter athletic teams are preparing to start their season. Winter sports will follow in the footsteps of fall COVID guidelines, but with the playing fields not outside like most fall sports, there will be changes in the new winter guidelines. Coaches now have to have make changes to their schedules and practices to accommodate for the guidelines.
The Covid-19 guidelines for the winter season have many similarities to the guidelines from the fall, such as wearing a mask, checking for a fever, disinfecting surfaces, and having a limited number of spectators. However, there are also a few major differences that have been put into effect by the OHSAA, including fewer spectators than were allowed for fall sports, smaller sideline and bench areas, practice groups, new team celebrations that don’t require fist bumps or high-fives and a lesser amount of “live” contact during practice. Practice groups are smaller individual groups of players to reduce risk of spreading and contracting COVID-19 and “live” contact is the amount of time being within 6 feet of a player for 15 minutes.
“With winter season indoors, we will have less [people] allowed to attend games versus our fall season,” PE teacher and Boys’ Varsity Basketball coach Tim Monahan said.
“One of the biggest changes this year is that I have instructed our bowlers to find some way other than a high-five or fist bump to celebrate good shots,” bowling coach Brain Combs said.
As teams practice for the upcoming season, they have to follow all guidelines, and coaches closely monitor their teams. Coaches put players in small groups or “pods” so that if one player were to test positive, it would keep the spread of COVID to these small groups instead of to the entire team. Coaches also take more time planning practice to make sure all guidelines are followed. Practices are planned out to make sure no one other than positive cases need to quarantine.
“When we practice I have grouped bowlers into small pods, and they will remain with those groups throughout the season to try and make sure that the full team is not exposed if someone should become ill,” Combs said.
“We have to strategically put a plan in place where it doesn’t put anyone else other than a positive case in a quarantine situation,” Monahan added.