Vaccine Mandates in Winter Sports

Vaccine Mandates in Winter Sports

Winter sports are right around the corner and the importance of COVID-19 vaccines for student athletes and staff is a popular conversation. COVID-19 has affected sports at our school in the last two years with strict regulations and protocols.

Whether or not the athletes’ and coaches’ comfort is respected, many precautions have been put in place, including daily self COVID testing, and mask mandates on buses or whenever an athlete is not playing their sport. The upcoming winter and spring season can be safe if the right steps are taken.

On November 8, 2021, the Arlington Public Schools winter sports vaccine mandate will go into effect. The APS mandate requires student athletes to provide documentation of their vaccination status on record (both doses) before the 8th. 

The daily self-testing required for fall sports will continue this winter season. For contact-intensive sports like wrestling, the question of whether or not a season will occur is still being debated. However, there are Green Days happening now, so hopes are high for a winter wrestling season to take place. 

Director of Student Activities Michael Krulfiled is optimistic about this winter sports season, that is if the athletes do as they’re told. 

“If the fall is any indication, we have done well having most of our athletes vaccinated, most of the testing and thereby minimizing cases. So I’ve no reason not to be optimistic about the winter also,” Krulfiled said. 

He expects similar results in contact spots that have the potential for more exposure.

“We will be putting cautions for those close contact sports, like wrestling, that include obviously each athlete having to be tested every day,” Cruelfield said.

A new face for this year’s wrestling team, Chris Cobey, has high hopes for this year. Due to the fact that every participant this year must be vaccinated, he has no worries. 

“So far in the Green days everyone follows rules and wears masks,” Cobey said. 

While wrestling is one of the questionable sports this year, if the team continues to follow the rules, there’s nothing but a positive outcome.

Another view on this topic is from Junior Clara Smith, who will be participating on the Swim and Dive team this year. She believes self-testing is the biggest factor that determines whether there will be a COVID-free season this year. 

“I think everyone should have to get tested everyday if they want to be able to go practice.” Smith said. 

If an athlete were to have any symptoms like fever, chills, shortness of breath and other symptoms the student will need to notify coaches and not come to school or practice. They will most likely get their results from the rapid testing. That brings in the importance of self-testing because if one athlete were to get COVID, but the rest of the team tested negative they can still play.

Without vaccines the winter season would not be possible. It is extremely important for ALL student athletes to get vaccinated so the season goes smoothly. The fall season and 2020 sports seasons had no issues and it’s expected from many people that there will be no issues whatsoever. 

Overall the winter season and spring season after it are on the right track. The majority of students have little to none concern about this topic because of how APS and Yorktown were willing to make changes and take authority. Vaccines have proven to help on having a successful sports season and keeping our student athletes safe.

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About the Contributor
Ian O'Neal
Ian O'Neal, Reporter
Ian O’Neal is a sophomore reporter entering his second year on The Sentry. Ian plays football at our school, enjoys being involved in the community and loves spending time outdoors. In his spare time, Ian loves lifting along with listening to music.

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