It has been difficult for Diamond Bar High School athletes to actually practice to maintain their skills as COVID-19 continues to restrict players from having the close contact needed for sports.
To counteract this and ensure that athletes stay fit and ready for the sports season that is expected to start next semester, the National Federation of State High School Associations suggested placing athletes in pods to safely isolate them from others while allowing them to practice. Following those guidelines, along with rules from Los Angeles County and the CIF, DBHS announced that some teams will be allowed to practice on campus.
According to an email sent out by DBHS Principal Reuben Jones on Oct. 2, students do not have to take this risk if they do not want to.
The email stated that the administration is in the process of allowing students to return to athletics, cheer and performing arts, on a volunteer basis. County regulations dictate that students be in groups of 12 or less and that only 10 percent of the student population are allowed on campus at one time, meaning about 250 students for DBHS.
Jones’ email stated that there would be small groups, social distancing and usage of disinfecting equipment for extra safety precautions. Even inside the pods, safety equipment such as masks and even gloves would be utilized to minimize the spread of COVID-19, and athletes would be far away from others.
Although this extra safety equipment may seem like a hassle, a majority of the athletes that are returning to school seem to not mind this extra step as long as they are able to finally play.
“To be honest, I just really want to go outside and play,” sophomore football player Joseph Song said. “I’m fine with all the extra stuff we have to do as long as I get to practice.”
Athletic director Albert Lim said that the idea for practicing is not yet finalized and is still subject to change.
“At this time, we are currently finalizing plans,” Lim said. “As a result, I am not comfortable sharing any information because by next week, there is a probability of the plan changing as we receive new updates.”
Some coaches believe that as long as the students are ensured to be safe and are wearing proper safety equipment, logically, there should be no reason to keep them from practicing once again.
“I am in favor of it as long as we can assure protocols are in place for everyone’s safety. I believe the concept will serve its purpose in limiting exposure,” baseball coach Jon Hurst said.
Hurst also mentioned that the proposal’s final approval greatly depends on the status of COVID-19.