GUSD arranges for student athletes to go back to conditioning

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Franicine Batuungbacal

Franicine Batuungbacal and her teammates get on a Zoom meeting before their in-person conditioning.

Keisha Belen, Staff Writer

On a normal school day, Clark students that take sports would get on a bus to go to their home schools and practice. Due to the unexpected COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine orders, the students could not attend practices towards the end of the 2019-2020 school year. Students athletes continued to miss practices when the new school year began.  

During early October of the 2020-2021 school year, Glendale Unified School District (GUSD) and California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) set out guidelines based upon the guidelines from the LA County Dept. Public of Health, so that athlete students could go back to school and practice their sports once again.  

These guidelines included information about entry and exiting to and from practice, health screenings, disinfecting protocols, physical distancing during practice and rules about sharing water. The guidelines consist of working in groups of no more than ten, sanitizing all the equipment and tightly limiting the number of people involved in sharing equipment, such as footballs or basketballs.

Glendale High School’s (GHS) lacrosse coach, Joseph Campbell, said that fall sports are already back for conditioning and that spring sports are looking for a December start. Fall sports include football, basketball, cross country, volleyball and cheerleading. Normally, there would be three seasons for sports, but now the CIF has changed it into two which was quite a change for student athletes.

Sophomore Francine Batungbacal plays volleyball at GHS and is on the JV team. “We practice outdoors in the back of the school versus our regular indoors,” Batungbacal said. “But, we’re separated when we practice in pods, since there’s two courts.”

Following the GUSD guidelines, the GHS volleyball team wears masks, stays six feet apart, and can only have one ball being used per pair of students. Before practicing, there’s also a hand scanner that takes the athletes’ temperature. The people taking their temperature then record it and ask if they have had any COVID-19 symptoms. 

Batungbacal said  that there is one person per station for exercises. If their exercise has equipment that they have touched or sweat on, they have to wipe it down after each use with disinfectant and then rotate stations. “We wash down equipment each time we use them with paper towels and disinfectant,” Batungbacal said.

With all the precautions for conditioning, volleyball practice for the team is also very different. “We usually are in close proximity with each other, and to have a good play, you need at least two touches of the ball between players in there,” Batungbacal said. “It’s a sport where everybody puts in an effort to reach one goal.”

In addition to the athletes who have already returned, some student athletes who play winter and spring sports say they are looking forward to returning soon as well. Crescenta Valley High School freshman Charm Pamintuan plays lacrosse, a spring sport. Although Pamintuan has not actually gone back to school for conditioning, she and other freshmen did meet up with their mentors. “We wore masks the entire time, and when we were talking to our mentors, we sat distanced from everyone else and each other as well,” Pamintuan said.  

Campbell, the GHS coach for lacrosse, said that because lacrosse is such a unique sport, maintaining social distancing  and sanitary requirements will not be as difficult. Since lacrosse does not require students to touch the ball with their body, Campbell hopes that the guidelines would be a bit different for this sport.

“I’m really excited to get back into the grind of playing lacrosse, finally getting to know the great team members I’ve been seeing on Zoom and to improve my skills,” Pamintuan said.