By: Anna Ritter
For many high schoolers in the U.S., school sports play a major role in their academic careers. Now, however, with the worldwide pandemic taking priority, schools are closed and in many areas, sports have not started back up.
In Howard County, the decision was made for winter sports to start their in-person conditioning practices on November 16, and for in-person regular practices to begin on December 7. There are to be Covid-19 procedures in place, such as limits on the number of people practicing at one time and wearing masks, but questions have arisen as to if those will really prevent an uptick in the number of cases in the county.
The answer is no. As of November 13, in-person conditioning has already been canceled. The initial announcement was made before a recent uptick in cases led to the delay for sports to begin practicing. With that in mind, this cancellation is a look into what will likely be a reality if sports are not canceled altogether until further notice.
Any increase in the number of cases in Howard could lead to sports being shut down indefinitely and that leaves players with a constant uncertainty as to if they’ll even be able to practice the next day. Students could make it through all their practices and then, right before a big game, sports could be canceled because of increased restrictions due to Coronavirus, and all their hard work would be for nothing, leaving them disappointed.
It simply is not worth it to let students enter possibly dangerous practices, because although guidelines would be put in place, many who encounter Covid-19 end up asymptomatic and could transfer the virus to others while practicing- which for many sports, includes touching fellow teammates, making maintaining social distancing relatively impossible- and then transferring it to their own families, just for some fun and a sense of normalcy.
If we don’t find it safe enough to have our students in school for even a hybrid system, why would we send them back into a situation where social distancing can’t exist and uncertainty is at its highest? Instead, our county (and country) should focus on getting rid of the Coronavirus once and for all, so that rather than presenting this false sense of normalcy, we return to our pre-Covid-19 lives when the conditions are safe and, well, normal.