Fall Sports in the Time of COVID

Lauren Coyne, Sports Editor

The athletic program at Morristown Beard School continues to be significantly impacted by the health and safety guidelines put out by the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Students have tried to embrace these safety precautions, but optimism is hard to hold on to going into the second year of non-traditional sports seasons.

Either way, students have been appreciative of how the guidelines have become less strict this year. Alison Bajak ‘23, a student on the field hockey team, said that the only invasive protocols for her are getting tested weekly, but that overall, this year’s  protocols are “bearable.”

The team building that occurs in the locker room is super important.

— Dante Marinello

This year, the intensity surrounding the pandemic is still prominent at MBS, but steps have been taken to bring back a normal sports season. The protocols continue to reflect CDC guidelines, requiring athletes to test weekly, and wear masks when possible. Varsity girls soccer captain Kirstin Harvett ‘22 said “I was disconnected last year because I couldn’t interact with my teammates. I was one of the unlucky ones who was home for nearly three months of contact tracing induced quarantine.” Harvett does, however, acknowledge the improvements from last year with regards to team building. She said, “although there are still protocols, it is not as bad as last year.” Dante Marinello ‘22, expressed concern about the dynamics of the football team with the underclassmen specifically. He said “[they] may not truly understand what it means to be a part of a Crimson athletics team.” Marinello expressed, however, access to the locker rooms this year raised morale by giving the team a location to come together to celebrate big wins and strategize after losses. He said, “the team building that occurs in the locker room is super important. As [COVID] restrictions go down, [underclassmen] will learn what it means to be a part of a team here.”

Only athletes and coaches are required to get tested weekly this year. Weekly testing is among a variety of ther restrictions placed upon MBS athletes to ensure safe and successful athletic seasons.
( Screencapture of COVID-19 test results from mbs.net)

The most drastic change this year has been contact tracing due to the availability of the COVID vaccine for both middle school and high school students. If a student or coach is vaccinated they do not have to be quarantined even if they are considered a close contact to an individual who tested positive. Instead, they would have to get a PCR test within three days to be cleared so that activities can continue as usual.

I was disconnected last year because I couldn’t interact with my teammates.

— Kirstin Harvett

Spectators have been allowed back, albeit in limited capacities, bringing energy that motivates athletes in immeasurable ways. Sports teams and events are big community builders – game day themes and chants led by the Crimson Crazies have always been a large part of what makes sports at MBS memorable. As restrictions and COVID-19 cases continue to fade away students will have a chance to again embrace the traditions held so dear by the upperclassmen both on and off the field.