All across America, the COVID-19 pandemic has affected various aspects of student life from club activities to sports, leaving many wondering when they would be able to continue the activities they love. As schools begin to consider reopening timelines, many parents have begun to express their interest in starting athletic training pods for fall athletes.
As of Oct. 27, Alameda County has reached its third week in the orange tier, which permits new reopenings with appropriate modifications. Many schools in districts around the Bay Area have also begun to organize training pods for small groups of athletes to restrict the spread of COVID-19.
“I like the idea of athletic pods. The opportunity for our student-athletes to get a chance to condition and train with one another will be great,” said Athletic Director Christopher Fortenberry.
CVHS parent Kathy Thompson has been spearheading the effort to get CVUSD to consider the training pods to allow students to be able to participate in sports on campus.
“My intent was not to bring back competitive athletic which hasn’t been allowed, but athletic training pods which are allowed and can be done safely outdoors,” said Thompson.
Thompson sent out surveys asking other parents of athletes whether or not they would be interested in allowing their students to participate in sport pods if the school allowed it. Out of 168 responses, about 97 percent indicated that they supported the idea of CVHS starting athletic training pods.
Virtual learning has caused concerns among parents about the mental and physical well-being of their children. The limited interactions between students and lack of activities are challenging. For many student-athletes, playing sports has become a large part of their identity and their time spent with their teams has created tight-knit relationships with teammates.
“Between class and homework, it feels like I’m staring at a computer screen for up to ten hours,” said senior Colin Thompson. “Sport pods would give me something to do outside.”
Additionally, student-athletes have the opportunity to be recruited by colleges through various scholarships. The lack of sports has made the recruitment process more difficult because some are not able to wholly provide the data and statistics necessary without having the coaches taping them on the field.
While most parents are on board with the ideas of training pods, some are worried about the possibility of their children contracting the coronavirus.
“Participation should be voluntary,” Thompson emphasized. “It’s going to be a personal decision based on their family health and living situation, whether or not they really want to allow their students to participate.”
CVUSD has already begun considering starting athletic training pods at CVHS and hopes to begin them on Nov. 9.
“I recognize the importance of providing every possible avenue for students to stay connected and healthy during these challenging times,” said Superintendent Parvin Ahmadi.