Skyline Sports Persist Throughout the Pandemic


The 2021-2022 school year at Skyline has seen hectic shifts from in-person to online. Yet while classes have had to alternate from zoom calls to in-class lectures, sports have been able to proceed with their seasons virtually uninterrupted by COVID-19.  

This is no accident. “Athletes tend to be tested more often, are in smaller groups [compared to students in class], and many athletes tend to exercise outdoors or in more spacious indoor spaces,” says Principal Cory McElmeel. 

Sports have also been able to continue when school hasn’t because they operate under far less scrutiny from the district. Whereas school has to meet a strict set of guidelines constantly enforced by the district, sports follow a much more relaxed set of rules. According to Skyline Athletic Director Robert Wellman, for the district to intervene and cancel a sport, about 40-50% of the team would have to be infected. So far, the only cancellations that can be attributed to COVID-19 occur in situations where a team doesn’t have enough healthy players to fill a roster for an upcoming game or meet. 

Another contributing factor allowing Skyline sports to continue is the high vaccination rate among athletes. In order to participate in sports, all athletes must report their vaccination status, and, according to Wellman, an overwhelming majority of Skyline athletes are reported as  vaccinated with only a handful of athletes being unvaccinated.  Athletes reported as unvaccinated are required to receive Covid testing twice per week and must quarantine if they’ve made close contact with someone who’s tested positive for COVID-19.  They also face a longer quarantine period.

Despite the regularity that Skyline sports has been able to maintain, athletes still have mixed views about the threat of COVID. When asked whether they worry about catching COVID during their season, Senior Andres Marquez Collins of the crew team said “Sometimes, [because] we no longer get tested,” whereas Senior Sanjay Rao of the Cross Country team said “No, not really.” 

Despite these doubts, all the athletes who have participated in sports this past year have clearly weighed the risks and benefits of participating in their sport and ultimately decided to continue. Skyline is a more lively and engaged place as a result.