Coaches, athletes adapt to new Covid-19 policies

While abiding by guidelines and mandates, the high school’s athletics department and coaching staff are doing their best to provide athletes with an enjoyable experience.


Tommy Meehan

**Zeroing in…** *While abiding by COVID-19 regulations, wrestling coach Tristain Boyd shows his support from the sideline this season.* *Photo by Tommy Meehan*

The start of the sports seasons this year brought a new obstacle. Coaches and athletes have had to make constant changes to adapt to the new rules and regulations regarding COVID-19 and sports.
“It was a challenge,” athletic director Dennis Stanton said.
For some, there was uncertainty with the idea of holding a season for some sports. “We didn’t know if we were even going to have a season,” Indian Valley Middle School assistant wrestling coach John Mclaughlin said.
Administrators knew that changes would have to be made in order for athletics to run this year. Support came from the school district and from the people who were in charge of making sure that all sports were following the guidelines put in place.
“We felt very supported by the school board, the district administration, [Superintendent Frank] Gallagher, [Principal Sam] Varano and [Director of Pupil Services] Megan Zweiback,” Stanton said.
Zweiback helped put procedures in place that were necessary for Souderton to continue its athletics over the seasons. The athletic department decided to begin the season in early July with swimming. Since then, Souderton has held all of their sports during their regular seasons.
There were changes made such as mandatory mask wearing and altered and divided practice times.”Swimming was broken up so the girls would practice first and the boys would practice second,” Stanton said.
There were new restrictions in place, but it did not stop the coaches from leading their teams. “COVID has been tricky with the masks, but everyone has been doing really well with being responsible and being a team player,” tennis coach Sean Redmond said.
There was also a daily health screening survey that was required to be filled out by each athlete before 11 in the morning everyday.
With the new procedures in place, the athletic department was unsure how the athletes would react to the new policies and restrictions.
The situation ended up turning out quite positive according to Stanton with very little negative feedback from the athletes and coaches. “I feel as though the athletes and coaches responded very well. There were very few times where people complained,” Stanton said.
Due to the fact that the athletes were even able to have a season, it seemed as though there was nothing but positivity regarding the ability to continue their sports seasons.
“Everybody demonstrated a sense of gratitude that we were even able to have a season and we were able to do something special,” Stanton said.
Although there were changes being made to alter the sports in hopes of minimizing the risk of spreading COVID-19, the season was made as close to normal as possible. “Our objective was to create an experience, and to make it as close to normal as possible,” Stanton said.
Coaches had a positive outlook on this year’s season even with COVID being a factor in it, and they are positive about leading their athletes through this difficult time.
“I’m looking forward to watching my athletes grow, and improve, especially because last year we did not even have a season,” Redmond said.
The majority of the games that were scheduled were done with the previously mentioned COVID-19 restrictions.
According to Stanton, about 80 percent of the games were played and Stanton said that he finds “success” in that.