Club sports prepare for return amidst new safety restrictions

Sean Bessette , Staff Reporter

The return of students on campus signals the return of club sports, which will look a lot different due to the safety restrictions set in place and the reduced number of students on campus because of COVID-19.

Club sports are returning in a limited fashion.

Director of Club Sports Samantha Wary said, “it’s the club’s discretion on whether they want to return or not.”

Half of the club sports teams will be returning. Prior to returning, each club must fill out a return to play document. From there, the document must be reviewed before practices can begin. 

According to Wary, there will be no competitions or traveling this quarter. Only practices will be happening but they will be looking different than they have in the past.

To ensure the safety of club sport participants, University Recreation Director Matthew Boyer said club sports will be following state, local and school guidelines.

Since Kittitas County is in phase three of the state’s phased reopening plan, gatherings are allowed with up to 10 people. For club sports, there can be no more than five members per indoor court and no more than five members per outdoor group. Face coverings will be required at all times.

Every student participating must complete their daily health check to monitor if they have any symptoms. In the case that a club sport participant contracts the COVID-19 virus, the Student Medical & Counseling Clinic will be notified and contact tracing will occur, which is the process of identifying persons who have come into contact with an infected individual.

According to Wary, a struggle that club sports have been encountering is getting new students to participate. With fewer people on campus, there are fewer students to play in club sports.

Over the spring, the Men’s Volleyball club team utilized Zoom to have meetings that brought in more participants, according to Wary. President of the Men’s Volleyball club team Isaiah Casem said their focus is on retaining new members. In fact, the team has grown in members since last year.

“It’s kind of hard to socialize and really team bond and meet the guys on the team,” Casem said. “I can’t teach them motivation, I can’t teach them commitment, determination, willingness to work outside of club hours and work just as hard within club hours.”

Club sports practices were scheduled to begin the first week of fall quarter, but the clubs have not been approved to begin practicing due to the smoky skies and practices have to be pushed back until the air conditions improve based on Recreation’s smoke procedure.