By Jordyn Sava
College President Kathryn Foster released an email on Oct. 29 with an outline of a hybrid plan for returning to campus in the spring, including information about sports teams.
“(In) alignment with and pending decisions from the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC), TCNJ plans to participate in winter and spring varsity sports.”
With the spring semester more than three months away, all plans are still tentative, Foster said. The College has announced their search for all the possibilities that may allow spring sports to return. The College's athletics department is looking into alternatives to practices, competitions and more.
Additionally, Foster said that the athletes will be directly informed by the Department of Athletics in regards to eligibility, testing protocol, training schedules, practice sessions and more within the coming weeks.
Spring sports are currently scheduled to return at their normal time. As of now, athletes can expect to see the return of spring sports when classes begin for the upcoming semester. On Monday, Nov. 2, voluntary workouts resumed for individuals involved in spring and fall sports.
The College has also announced that if sporting events do take place, no spectators or fans will be permitted at the event.
“Conditions will continue to be monitored to determine if fans/spectators can be accommodated later in the season,” President Foster said in her email.
The ability to livestream sports events may be expanded upon, giving individuals the opportunity to watch competitions while staying safe from the virus’ spread.
In terms of intramural and club sports, their presence in the spring semester will be limited. In order to decrease the risk of transmission, low-contact sports like golf or badminton are more likely to return than high-contact sports like soccer.
In the professional world of sports, players have been put into bubbles in order to isolate. This summer, the NBA went to extensive measures to ensure the safety of those involved in the Orlando bubble. While the College may not necessarily be able to put the money into their student-athletes, there is the option to isolate athletes in order to continue competitions.
As a result of quarantining, the use of hybrid or virtual programs have flooded the world. Clubs and sports are likely to have meetings altered to be either fully online or socially distant. Teams can continue training for their seasons through workout plans, events held over Zoom and other get-togethers from a safe distance.
Foster has also highlighted the fact that Covid-19 testing will take place for students living on campus. Students will be required to have pre-arrival Covid-19 testing and be able to provide a negative diagnostic test at the start of the spring semester. Then, there will be weekly or on-site testing to trace the virus on campus and limit the spread.
This weekly testing will be mandatory for those on campus, and will only be waived for those working from home and not taking part in any on-campus activities including, but not limited to, class, internships and the use of campus facilities.
Currently, student athletes engaging in high-contact sports are already being tested. During competition weeks, individuals are tested up to three times per week. This is expected to remain the same, if not increase with the help of the third-party administering the tests.
While there aren’t concrete answers, the College is optimistic. More updates on next semester are expected to be released when the time draws closer.