Keep Covid precautions for SJ sports
Will Turboff ’22
Since Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s new COVID-19 guidelines–or a lack thereof–that went into effect on Wednesday, March 10, many have wondered how they will impact their communities. While many schools across the greater Houston area, as well as others throughout the state, have decided to continue to limit attendance and still require face coverings at their sporting events, the Strake Jesuit Athletic Department has not made an official statement as to whether or not they will be easing restrictions for remaining sports in the 2020-21 school year.
I believe that there should be no changes to any policy for sporting events, including for masks. Fans of Strake Jesuit athletics have many options to stay up to date on their favorite sports, including social media, daily and weekly emails sent out to students and parents alike, as well as Crusader Sports Network, which thousands of fans have tuned to throughout the school year during our current situation.
As a result of the Executive Order, the University Interscholastic League (UIL), which helps provides extracurricular programs for schools in the state of Texas, updated their Risk Mitigation Guidelines, in which they state “school system governing boards may modify or eliminate mask-related requirements” and “schools may determine spectator capacity and seating arrangements for UIL events.” While I understand the reasoning behind UIL’s decision to put the power in individual schools’ hands, it puts at a big disadvantage many student athletes and coaches still concerned about their well-being.
Topher Mohr ‘22, who plays on our varsity lacrosse team, agrees that that is would be wise to continue require face coverings for fans at games. “Masks are crucial to everyone’s safety,” Tropher said, “and do not take away from watching the game.” He also believes that the limit on attendance of games has definitely changed the feel for both players and fans.
Yes, it has been different, but it would be much more beneficial to continue to restrict certain aspects for spectators for the next couple of months to be at full strength come the beginning of the 2021-22 school year, rather than be in this mess for another year.
As COVID-19 case numbers per day continue to decline, many officials assume that it means the restrictions are no longer needed; however, this may be the most crucial time if we hope to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The vast majority of the SJ Community has is yet to receive a vaccine as they are being phased in. Lifting any restrictions would not only put not only the competitors in these games at a risk, but also the attendees themselves.
If SJ Athletics decided to lift all restrictions for their sporting events, ignoring the science which proves that measures such as masks and social distancing help stop the spread of COVID, there would likely be outbreaks of the virus within the community, affecting students, parents, and faculty. We need to make sure that we will not become yet another example of a careless community becoming weaker because of COVID-19.