Sports teams instate new protocols for away games

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By Michael Tierney, Staff Reporter

In an effort to provide student athletes with a safe and convenient way to get to away games, the athletic department has instituted new, COVID-19-conscious travel protocols to provide transportation for players.   

The new protocols have had different consequences for each team, but they have not stopped teams from bonding and boosting camaraderie . 

These protocol changes have two components: bus timings and transportation options. For opponents that are farther away, hybrid students have a 2:20 p.m. dismissal while virtual students have a 2:05 p.m. dismissal, providing virtual students with enough time to arrive at the building for the bus. For more local opponents, hybrid students will dismiss at 2:30 p.m., and virtual students will dismiss at 2:15 p.m. Second, all athletes have the option to take either the school-provided bus or their own transportation to games. The Chester County Health Department has also encouraged families to provide their own means of transportation to school and competitions. 

Senior girls varsity soccer goalkeeper Caroline Klaiber explains that her team has not taken the bus to a single away game this year. Klaiber has driven herself to every away game so far because she has her license and a car, while others have received rides from parents. 

“My decision to drive myself is from a matter of convenience, not safety. It’s not tiring to drive to and from games. I like driving. Driving is fun and a good way to clear my head after a game, so it’s kind of nice,” Klaiber said. 

In contrast, the JV boys’ soccer team takes the bus for every away game since the players are too young to drive themselves. Freshman Kieran Chetty, a center midfielder, takes the bus to away games because it can be difficult for his parents to drive him to away games. 

“It is encouraged for students to drive to away games, and it is mandated that students that take the bus wear masks for the whole ride and don’t sit together. I personally use the bus to get to away games because my parents are both working, and they think with all the protocols we should be fine during the bus rides with others to away games,” Chetty said.  

Chetty also described how the atmosphere on the bus varied on whether the team won or lost.

“The bus rides on the way back from a win are more exciting because the mood on the bus is upbeat,” Chetty said. “But if we lost it was almost silent because we knew we would have to run at practice the next day.”

He also said that the bus environment has been much different than last year.

“Last year the atmosphere was much more exciting on the bus because we didn’t need masks and we were able to use a speaker on the bus to play music,” Chetty said.

  The girls’ varsity soccer team has made up for the loss of team bus rides by finding other ways to bond together as a team. 

 “I miss the atmosphere of the bus on our way to a game or on our way home from a win. It was a fun team bonding experience. However, I think we have found ways to make up for the experience this year. Now because we all drive ourselves, we are able to grab dinner together. And it’s not like we’re not hanging out because we all spend over two hours together at the game,” Klaiber said. 

Freshman football player Caius Michlitsch agrees that the new transportation protocols have had little effect on team morale. 

“We have been doing our best with keeping team spirit high. We still have our uniforms, and we’ve been showing up to games and practices and trying to make it as normal as possible even though we have masks in our helmets,” Michlitsch said. “But it’s obviously a little different with everything going on. We have to stay separate when we don’t have our helmets on, but we do our best and have created a strong team connection.”