Covid-19 Impacts Winter Sports


Aaliyah Garcia plays defense against Liberty High School during a Varsity Girls Basketball game. Photo taken by Morgan Brewer.

Grace Knight

Winter sports have just begun, but things look a lot different this year due to new rules and regulations established because of Covid-19. 

Covid-19 has changed many things about the 20-21 school year, and sports are just one of them.

 “Guidelines and policies are constantly changing, which is tough on the coaches.” Athletic Director Todd McAtee said. So far, this season has been unpredictable and it is hard to adjust to something that can change any second.

“The most challenging thing this season has been the unrelenting stress of the year that has built and built. Everything is different.” Varsity basketball coach Hunter Henry said. Winter sports teams have been getting quarantined as a result of players or coaches testing positive for the virus, and when that happens, it changes plans that were meant to be set in stone.

Due to the close contact that occurs with winter sports, and the lack of masks being worn in those sports, whole teams are getting quarantined when one student tests positive for COVID. Games and meets are being canceled on short notice, and we’re then scrambling to find a replacement opponent, or find a makeup date with the team who can’t play.” McAtee said. This process of cancellation and rescheduling, as well as having to quarantine, has not only proven to be hard on the coaches and staff, but also players of those sports.

“We have to be on edge with our health because if one of our swimmers comes down sick, then the team is out for two weeks. This is crucial because of how much smaller our time got this year with could impact our chances of going to state, which is our goal.” Varsity swimmer Jake Hajduch said. Participators in winter sports not only have to be concerned about others’ health, but they also have to follow regulations in order to protect their own. 

“Because of COVID, practices have been cut a little short and there has been more dry land exercise involved. While these things are necessary, it has been hard to adjust to.” Hajduch said. Regulations have been established in every sport, but opinions on them depend on the person.

“I think the changes in the season are small enough to adjust to in a decent time and it’s not something that changes how you play completely.” JV basketball player Ayden Chavez said. 

Another big change this year is the spectator policy.

“Right now, KSHSAA is allowing for two parent/guardian spectators per player/participant.” McAtee said. This rule has been established in order to cut down on the spread of Covid-19, and the restrictions may be even tighter depending on the facility that the sport is being played in.

“Having limited fans had been odd, but probably needed at this point.” Henry said. Players and coaches are used to having crowds while the game is going on, and not having the spectators there can change the entire environment for the totality of a game.

“During play time, it gets really quiet and that can throw you off a little bit especially if you’re used to constant noise.” Chavez said. 

The winter sports season has been heavily affected by new rules and regulations established by the ongoing pandemic, but players and coaches have slowly began to get used to them. It gets hard for participants to do things so differently than they have done in the past. But, with limited fans, wearing masks, spectator policies, and more, the winter sports season is now in full force.