As Lakeside opens school online because of Covid-19, many student-athletes are worried about how their sports are going to work in this new and confusing situation. Over the summer, Mr. Hartley sent out an email trying to explain the logistics, but I understand that many didn’t bother to read it – it was summer after all. But now that school is starting again, I thought it’d be a good time to go over and review the state of Lakeside sports.
Starting September and going onwards for some time, Lakeside will be online. During this time there will be no team practices – only online team meetings and such. On September 28th, the “Open Season”, an equivalent to the regular summer season, begins. If Lakeside is open by then and the county is in at least phase 3, “summer” practices can take place.
Otherwise, the competitive sports seasons start on December 28th with normal winter sports playing a shortened season. Then, on March 1 fall sports begin, and on April 26th spring sports start as well. The spring season, not only shortened, will also extend into the summer, ending June 27th. The athletic department recognizes that many of you have plans during the summer, be it GSL, outdoor trips, internship, etc, so they are going to work with students and the school to try and navigate the situation. As both Lakeside and the WIAA are monitoring the Covid situation carefully, the seasons may need to be pushed back and shortened if the county is not in phase 4 by winter.
Once these seasons begin, if Lakeside is in the blended learning model, practices can begin. Athletes can only practice the weeks that they’re on campus, meaning that juniors and seniors will practice together one week, and freshmen and sophomores the other. Naturally this interferes with the formation of teams, as sophomores and freshmen can’t practice with upperclassmen. Until all students are able to be on campus at the same time, players won’t be split into Varsity/JV teams. Practices themselves will also look different than usual. Although athletes won’t be required to practice with masks, all coaches and athletic staff will. All players will be grouped into pods of 10 or so, limiting their interactions to a smaller group of people. To maintain social distancing (athletes will be six feet apart), practices will be more individual and skill-based: picture a group of students spaced throughout the gym practicing their dribbling around individual cones. All practice equipment will be wiped periodically, as well as before and after practices.
As for games themselves, teams are only allowed to compete once the county enters phase 4. Even then, teams would be limited to 70% of the games they’re normally allowed to play. For example, a basketball team that normally plays up to 20 games a year can only play at most 14 games now. The WIAA has split sports into different categories (high risk, medium risk, low risk) and game days will look a little different for each one. The WIAA also plans to continue with state tournaments, but no one knows what those will look like until we get closer to the season.
Of course the athletics department includes more than just sports, so here’s some other information that you may or may not need. Tailgates won’t be happening in person, but Lakeside is working on bringing together the community through online or social media events. When Lakeside opens in blended learning, because of social distancing requirements, the Cardio and Weight rooms will not be open to student athletes – only to those taking Strength and Conditioning classes. Even then, exercises will be down in the fieldhouse/comp gym or outside, with students staying six feet apart. If any athletes have injury questions or concerns they should reach out to head athletic trainer Antonio Gudiño , or our new assistant athletic trainer, Paige Platman.
Naturally, as new developments or guidelines appear, these plans are subject to change. 2020 has been, among many things, unpredictable. As such, Lakeside sports is going to be adapting quickly and often. If the county enters phase 3 and Covid cases are declining, we may well be on campus and practice by October 1st. On the other hand, if Covid cases don’t fall, the winter season may not start until February. Only time will tell.