By Maya Dulli-Ray
Friday, October 30 was the first day back for DPS’ cross country and volleyball teams.
High schools have taken many safety precautions. Most are similar to the rules people have seen in stores and restaurants that have already reopened. Riverside’s athletic department requires all student athletes to complete an online registration prior to every practice, arrive fully dressed and bring their own water, face covering and bag.
Athletes and their guardians have to check in at the main entrance of the school before every practice and receive both an eligibility and Covid-19 screening. There are taped down X’s marking the 6-foot difference and where people should stand in line while checking in.
Riverside’s athletic department spent hours preparing the facilities for the socially-distanced practices. They were at the building until 10:15 the night before the first practices.
After every practice, the coaches personally sanitize all the balls, and the net equipment. As for cross country the rules aren’t as strict because they are outside and for the most part, always 6 feet apart or more. Athletes are allowed to take their masks down while running, but once they are either stopped or closer than six feet they must put it back on.
For volleyball especially, because practices are held indoors, coaches and members of the athletic department check student-athletes’ temperatures and ask screening questions every day before they are allowed in the building. Once in the gym, athletes are given a specific spot on the bleachers, all 6 feet apart from each other. Everyone is required to wear masks, and the only time athletes can take their masks off is when drinking water during breaks. After every break they must use hand sanitizer before touching the equipment again.
Cross country runners, who practice outdoors, are screened daily in the same manner as volleyball players. Runners are, however, permitted to remove their masks while actively running unless passing others. At all other times, athletes are expected to wear a face covering. Runners are assigned break and warm-up areas spaced six feet apart and run in pods of at most seven teammates.