Sports should not have practices at this time due to safety concerns

October 20, 2020 — by Christina Chang and Anjali Pai
Sports Covid Graphic-01

Sports unintentionally allow for a violation of social distancing guidelines and unenforced safe practices

A few weeks ago, the Falcon Instagram photo of the week showed some high school boys playing basketball at the outdoor courts. The boys failed to comply with the most important CDC health guidelines, as most were without a mask and were not social distancing. 

This is yet another reminder that it is nearly impossible to adhere to current safety guidelines while playing sports these days.

Recently, many sports have been cleared to resume workouts and practices at Saratoga High, but there are still concerns regarding the safety of the players and coaches. Although guidelines exist to reduce the risk of COVID transmission, the coming flu season and the risk of certain players not abiding by the Workout Guidelines set by the Los Gatos-Saratoga Union High School district are adding to concern for the collective well-being. The safest course would be to put sports on hold until the pandemic is more under control.

In the workout guidelines, it says that “masks should be removed during strenuous activity.” Although wearing a mask sometimes is better than not wearing one at all, every second without a mask poses a serious risk to players’ health. Of course, it is impractical to wear masks during most athletics, but sports teams need to recognize the risk and cancel practices if necessary precautions cannot be taken.

 With a pandemic, there is no room for mistakes and it is vital to stick to the guidelines passed by the CDC. If these guidelines are violated even once, an entire team could possibly be infected, and for no reason other than to keep players in shape. It is better for everyone, including the players themselves, to work out at home: each person who gets infected is another few months that the rest of us need to stay in quarantine.

According to sophomore Jenny Campbell, a player on the girls’ basketball team, out of the 10-12 students who are currently participating in in-person basketball practices, only one has chosen to keep the mask on during the practice. Since players must run a lot for drills, which causes them to breathe heavily and therefore emit more respiratory particles, the lack of masks poses a substantial health risk for all the players if one becomes infected. 

In addition to not wearing masks, players violate social distancing guidelines during some drills. In dance, athletes practice in cohorts of nine people, but due to limited space the dancers cannot stay within the guidelines of being 6 feet apart at all times. 

Especially with experts predicting a second wave of COVID-19 and an approaching flu season, more kids will be sick leading to less participation in sports anyway, yet another reason to push back the start of sports.

If the school hasn’t even reopened for normal school classes, where students are just staying 6 feet apart with masks on, there is absolutely no reason to clear sports to hold practices where social distancing and safe practices are not enforced.

We are trying to flatten the curve, and reopening for sports will only increase the number of coronavirus cases. Until a vaccine is produced and widely accessible to the public, we need to stop all unnecessary interactions so that we can return to a normal life as soon as possible.