With the COVID-19 pandemic still in full force in the United States, Township High School District 214 and Elk Grove High School have attempted to return to some normalcy to athletics and activities.
The district has allowed each school in the district to conduct camps for both fine arts and athletics, while some sports deemed “low-risk” have been going as usual during the fall season.
“I felt extremely safe and we were reminding the kids to practice good social distancing,” Elk Grove Head football coach Miles Osei said via Zoom.
Although student-athletes were allowed back to practices, strict precautions and protocols were in place. Masks, temperature checks, a set of health and symptom checking questions and social distancing were just some of these requirements. Groups of people were at a limited number of 50 for football and even as small as 10 for other sports and activities.
Athletes were also required to bring their own refreshments, such as water, to the camps.
“It’s good to be cautious, and our coaching staff developed a certain plan that worked out well for the kids,” Osei said via Zoom.
Head baseball coach Steven Leasniak was excited to be back on the field during the summer as his first year as head coach last year was cut short due to the pandemic.
With that label as a low-risk sport per the IHSA, as players have the ability to distance themselves, Lesniak said his team was able to accomplish a lot during the summer camp.
“Baseball is labeled a low-risk sport so in the summer we were able to practice many drills while maintaining social distancing,” Lesniak said via email.
Baseball resumes in the summer.
As for indoor sports, the first portion of camp did not allow students to be in the building. During the latter part of the summer camp, kids were allowed to participate inside with social distancing and mask wearing enforced at all times.
And starting on the week of Sep. 7, all out of season sports were given 20 contact days by the IHSA per the guidance released at the beginning of the month. Although pads and helmets won’t be given out for sports like football, all sports teams are allowed to have team scrimmages against each other as much socially distant as possible.
Masks are still required to be worn throughout the entirety of these camps that can run through the end of October, if needed.
“We can have 20 contact days until the next sports guidance,” Osei said via Zoom.
Some competitive sports and activities, however, are moving ahead as planned. They include girls cross country, boys cross country, girls swimming, girls tennis, girls golf and boys golf.
Zuzanna Gaik, a junior and member of the cross country squad at Elk Grove said the team is abiding by the restrictions put in place.
“We show up to practice with masks on, we do warm up stretches in masks and cool down stretches in masks, but while we run we don’t wear them,” Gaik said in an email. “Same thing during meets, we don’t wear them while we run. If we aren’t running and just standing around we have them on and we are 6 [feet] apart.”
Cross country has been practicing and racing against other schools since early August 10.
Along with sports, the fine arts department at Elk Grove is moving ahead. Maryjo Coleman, a junior at Elk Grove, has been involved in Elk Grove’s fine arts department for three consecutive years. She is a part of the fall play at EGHS.
“We will be having it in the stadium on the football field,” Coleman said. “We are going to be performing in a circle in the middle and all of the audience will be around the circle. It will all be socially distanced with masks on.”