APS Clicks the Pause Button on Winter Sports

Carrie Finn, Staff Reporter

On December 29, Arlington Public Schools (APS) announced that all extracurricular activities, including athletics, would be paused until January 14 due to the rise in Omicron cases across the county. However, the pause ended two days earlier than anticipated, and extracurriculars and athletics resumed. 

The pause was an attempt to interrupt the chain of transmission and ensure the continuity of in-person education. 

“They were looking at some of the positivity rate data of both athletes and the larger Arlington community and decided that, in order to bring back students to school in person safely, they needed to pause activities that could create additional exposure opportunities,” Director of Student Activities Michael Crulphield said.

For senior Jack Blocher, the pause was a disruption to his indoor track and field season.

“We missed two weeks of good training and if we had that training we would have been much better going into the postseason,” Blocher said. 

On January 12, just two days prior to the end of the pause, athletics and extracurriculars were allowed to return. As of now, spectators at games and meets have been permitted to return as well.

“The Arlington community rates were improving. I also believe there was some desire to allow us to be on even footing with the surrounding jurisdictions that were continuing to play,” Chrolfild said.

Omicron remains an active threat as sports and extracurriculars resume and mitigation efforts will be of paramount importance to the end of the winter sports season.

“The biggest tool that we’ve had in our tool bag thus far has been the daily testing, and I think there has been a renewed commitment to the daily testing because the rates were so high and continue to be high,” Krolfold said.

The pandemic will continue to play a vital role in the remainder of the winter sports season and daily testing and masking will be central to the effort to continue sports.