With the Spring Season around the corner, Covid remains a concern


As the winter sports season comes to an end, students have been preparing for the spring season. However, Covid continues to have a substantial impact on student athletes nationwide. 

In 2020 there was a major change in school and sport routines and the spring season was completely canceled because of Covid. Students had to start wearing masks everyday in school and while playing sports, which was a very different scenario for the first time in history. Students had to be more cautious being around people and had to get used to the concept of quarantine. Today students still face this challenge where many meets and games have gotten postponed due to the pandemic. 

According to CIAC’s (Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference) varsity schedules, 136 games or meets were postponed or canceled during winter sports. Since school has gone back to in-person it may seem student athletes are getting back into a regular season but that’s still not the case. 

“Covid has definitely affected me with sports. We have to wear masks at all times during basketball. It is hard to wear a mask while playing such an active sport because the mask makes it much harder to control my breathing. We have also had teammates out throughout the season due to quarantining, so we really haven’t been able to fully play together,” said Saige Winslow, a student athlete who plays soccer and basketball. 

With the variants, Delta and Omicron, setting in it has been even more difficult for athletes to get a full season. All that they can do is follow the protocols such as wearing their masks properly when playing, to make sure some normalcy in their life rather than having all sports shut down. 

CIAC recently changed their protocols to align with the students’ return back to school. If an athlete tests positive after feeling COVID-like symptoms, the athlete must stay home and isolate themselves for five days before returning back to a team activity on the sixth day. Before this change in protocol athletes had to stay isolated for at least 10 days. 

If the athlete tests negative with the symptoms, the athlete can return to team activities after being fever free for 24 hours but must wear a mask the whole time until symptoms are fully gone.

With spring season around the corner, athletes will start to be outside more and are wondering if they still need to use masks when playing. For now the main protocol of CIAC’s updated COVID guidelines is still the amount of time athletes are expected to quarantine if they get exposed. Most likely, precautions will still be expected to be followed as people are still getting vaccinated today and cases have been occurring. 

Along with games and seasons getting canceled for schools and affecting athletes, according to NCBI, National Center for Biotechnology Information, “Covid-19 restrictions led to reduced levels of physical activity, increased screen usage and declines in mental health in youth.”

“COVID has led to a feeling of exhaustion amongst many people, especially as we are nearing the two year anniversary of the first “shut-downs” in Connecticut, which happened in March 2020. My approach has been to try to make any kind of positive out of the news we were receiving to give at least a glimmer of hope that things could improve. I’ve tried to stress that COVID is a difficult obstacle to overcome, but that we can work together to still find success,” said Mr. Schumann, a social studies teacher and track coach. 

Concern for mental health of athletes still arises. Coaches have a hard time motivating their athletes to focus on grades and their sports simultaneously. The lack of feeling optimistic has led to a decline in student’s grades. With the pressures to perform at a high level both on and off the field it has been incredibly difficult on students’ mental health. 

In some ways, students can understand the signs of mental health difficulties if they notice differences in sleep patterns, not eating well, mood swings, social isolation, or decline in academic performance. 

It’s important to take care of everyone’s health whether it’s physically or mentally. COVID may still be around for this school year and students need to be especially safe and healthy when playing sports.