Nutley High School Sports in Times of COVID-19
COVID-19 has been a struggle for many people around the world. It also has been especially difficult for athletes because their seasons (if they even have one) are completely different. Nutley High School has taken many precautions so they can have their sports seasons happen this year. Fall sports - soccer, football/cheer, tennis, cross country, and volleyball - were filled with cancellations and extra rules.
Mr. Piro, this district’s athletic director, has had a first-hand view of how our sports teams are being affected by COVID-19. He says, “There were several cancellations due to the pandemic.” Piro and the district administrators have made sure the teams are taking the right precautions so all players and coaches stay safe; sometimes cancellations were needed.
This pandemic has been stressful for not only coaches but players too. Mr. Piro explains how we are following all of the NJSIAA, State of NJ, and CDC guidelines as they pertain to interscholastic athletics in NJ. Although this may change the seasons a lot for the players and coaches. it is absolutely necessary to take all precautions seriously so that everyone stays safe and healthy. The athletes are required to follow each and every guideline. However, if they do not listen, they will not be allowed to participate. As expected, he says, “It is entirely different from previous years.” Athlete Mackenzie Albert agrees and says her soccer season this past fall was a very different experience.
Mackenzie Albert is a junior on the Nutley girls varsity soccer team. She explains how this season was a totally different experience because of COVID-19. Mackenzie says, “We had many precautions; we wore masks all the time, we had to get tested every few weeks just to be safe, we took two buses to all our games so we could be spread out, and we couldn’t high five the other team after games.”
The season was a total departure from what the athletes were used to. Athletes missed out on a lot of regular activities such as pasta parties, team bonding, and county competitions. Fall sports were outside which helped enable the season to happen, while winter sports take place inside, bringing a lot of dangers for those athletes and coaches. In an effort to enable the winter season to take place, many sports have been postponed to early 2021. Mackenzie hopes the basketball season will end up happening in the spring.
No one truly knows what sports will look like in the next few months. As of right now, there are no sports planned during the traditional winter timeframe but there are high hopes of those sports happening in the spring. Mr. Piro had hoped there would have been a winter season following NJSIAA play guidelines, but Governor Murphy then canceled winter sports because numbers have gotten too high and it would be unsafe.
The 2020-2021 sports seasons have been hectic and will continue to have some struggles over the next few months. Nutley High School sports have had to adapt and make a lot of changes this year due to COVID-19, and it is far from over yet. Mr. Piro and other officials will continue to make every effort to enable the athletes to play while keeping a safe end and within the required guidelines. One thing is for sure: this will be a year that is talked about for many years to come.