Sports practices should have been delayed after winter break

Taryn Robinson, Opinions Editor

The boys basketball team represents Manhattan High’s first activity-related COVID-19 outbreak this school year. Athletes and staff have worked hard so far to take precautions to keep sports safe and running. Despite this overall caution, the first sports practices were held on Jan. 4, just after the Christmas holidays, not knowing who had traveled or been exposed.

The Mentor Editorial Board agrees that athletes should be more cautious about who and what they’re exposed to during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Because there was a positive COVID-19 case and the player attended practice, almost all of the Varsity and J.V. team is now in quarantine for 10-14 days. This means that only five basketball players (who weren’t at Monday practice) are eligible to practice and play in games. However, several games have been canceled due to the lack of available players.

This particular outbreak impacts not only the Varsity and J.V. teams who were exposed, but also forces the rescheduling of games for the boys freshman team and all of the girls team. This is even though both freshman teams practice separately from Varsity and J.V., and the boys and girls practice in separate gyms, so none of the players would’ve been compromised by someone from the boys Varsity/J.V. practice. However, even though the freshman boys and the entire girls team is still allowed to continue practicing, they will not be able to play this week and possibly other future games, simply because of connections to the one positive athlete.

Aside from the basketball teams, there are others who are also affected by the cancellation of games. These teams include the MHS cheer team and dance team. Both work hard during and after school hours to be able to perform at sports games, so not being able to come to games means that they cannot perform, due to the cancelation of games and any other uncertain games.

Instead of everyone coming back from break, possibly exposed to the COVID-19 virus by traveling to different places around the country and resuming practices the next day, all athletes could get COVID-19 tests and go to practice when the test results come back negative. If their test comes back positive, those players should quarantine and come back to practice when their two-week time frame is complete.

With the new year, many people think that COVID-19 has come to a halt and they can move on with their lives as it was, pre-COVID-19. This is wildly untrue and should not be everyone’s new mindset for the year. Even though the COVID-19 vaccine is out and is being distributed to some people, that does not mean the virus is completely gone. Now is more important than ever to make sure that everyone follows guidelines whether you’re an athlete, student, teacher or member of the community.