The Bengals Are Back

The Bengals Are Back

With fall sports back in session, it’s safe to say we all have the same concerns: Covid! Many are wondering what precautionary measures Blake will take to ensure students are able to stay safe while participating in sports. Contact sports like football and cheerleading make it difficult to guarantee student’s safety. 

When asking students what changes the school has made to keep students safe, senior Tiara Strickland states, β€œBlake has set up pods for each sport and makes sure everybody stays in their pods. Everybody has to stay six feet apart from each other, wear a mask, and bring their own belongings like towels and water bottles.” Pods are small groups students are placed in to control the number of people in one space. 

Senior Kameron Davis also informed me about the daily safety measures being taken before students reach the school.β€œWe’re doing virtual check-ins each day to make sure no one comes to practice with any symptoms.” 

Although these precautionary measures are being implemented for all sports, some wonder how these rules apply to sports that practice inside such as the volleyball team. Senior Logan McClees from Blake volleyball notes, β€œThe water fountains are turned off and everyone is supposed to bring their individual water bottles.” It is also mentioned that the gym doors are kept open at all times to keep fresh air circulating and to prevent the spread of germs.

For some teams, these current rules are difficult to get adjusted to. Strickland mentions, β€œFor cheer, we have three practices a week. Two of them are virtual, and one of them is in person.” This is an extremely significant change considering in previous years, cheer practices are Monday-Saturday, excluding game days. Although these changes may take some time to get used to, the precautions seem to be working very well. No one in Blake Athletics has caught Covid-19 from practice.

Teams have yet to practice altogether as a whole, but MCPS continues to update and implement daily changes. Sporting events and tournaments are still happening but in reduced numbers. Football only has three games this season with the first game being scheduled for Friday, March 26th. Davis states β€œFootball is having three games this season against Springbrook, Einstein, and Northwood.” 

Unfortunately, teams will not have an audience due to Covid. Strickland shares that β€œSports are having games but since people are not allowed to come to them, Blake is using a live streaming service so the people can watch the games live on their devices from home.” This is a very new change for everyone. Many players rely on family, friends, and the student body to help sustain their drive throughout their games. Not having an audience will be an unusual adjustment for many players.

For most students, wearing masks during practice is a hassle.β€œIt is hard practicing during Covid restrictions at times because a mask makes it a lot harder to breathe while working up a sweat.” These guidelines can begin to affect student’s performance due to discomfort. 

When being given so many restrictions, some wonder why students wanted to come back to practice. Strickland states, β€œI was a little hesitant coming to in-person practice because I did not know what I was walking into. I was not sure how Blake was going to handle the COVID situation but also how the practices were going to be run now.” Other students were eager to be able to play with their team, and couldn’t wait to get back out there. Davis says β€œI wasn’t hesitant at all, in fact, I was excited to practice with my team; it’s been too long.”

Despite the rules and regulations at school during practices, students are continuing to make the best out of a not-so-ideal situation. Students are taking their own precautions to make sure to stay safe and Covid free throughout the season. Strickland says, β€œBefore and after practices, I make sure to either wash my hands or use hand sanitizer. I also make sure to shower after every practice.” With the students staying responsible and Blake continuing to follow MCPS guidelines, Blake athletics should be able to stay safe and Covid free for the fall sports season!