Fall activities face changes



Fall actives such as sports and other extracurriculars adapt to new safety guidelines. https://unsplash.com/license

Lillian Chen

While some Monmouth County schools are opting to move to strictly online instruction, others are sticking to hybrid models, and the varying reopening plans for the new year have students wondering what the plan for home school fall extracurriculars is.

“Our first official practices start September 14 and our first game is scheduled for October 1st,” said senior Kiera Higgins of Sea Girt, who plays soccer for Manasquan High School. “Although we haven’t had official practices yet, Manasquan have been practicing with social distance guidelines and different phases in order to ensure we are playing safely.”

“As of now, FTHS [Freehold Township High School] fall sports are still on, so marching band is good to play at the games,” said sophomore Joe Wicke of Freehold. “Even if football is cancelled, they still might do marching band performances as those are easy to do while maintaining COVID guidelines.”

Some schools, such as Freehold Township, are getting creative, redesigning the way practices function to reduce the risk of exposure.

Everyone is split up into groups of ten or less, called pods, and they are based off instrument sections… At no point will there be full-group practices,” Wicke said. “Practices are only 90 minutes as opposed to all-day, and take place outside of the school… There is now a big emphasis on safety measures. Practices require social distancing and wearing a mask when you’re not playing an instrument.”

New safety regulations such as the aforementioned have schools moving quickly to adapt fall extracurriculars to ensure the safety of their students. Many have pushed the start of the season back, with students resuming play weeks after they typically would.

“For now, we practice about three times a week without our coach. About halfway through September, our coach will hold tryouts and then we’ll practice every day…the first game is set for October 1st,” said senior Erin Carr of Wall, who plays soccer for Wall High School.

While the season being cut short is a disappointment, many student athletes are still finding a silver lining in the time they have been granted.

“All the uncertainty regarding if we’ll have an actual season has made it harder to really have your heart in it. It’s like you’re working really hard for the possibility of a half-season,” Carr said. “[But] I’ve had more time to get back into the swing of things and I’ll probably be even more prepared by the time tryouts roll around.”

Higgins agreed, saying, “as a rising senior, I am a little disappointed, but of course I’m still hopeful because I know if our season continues it will be the best one yet… While these circumstances are not ideal, I actually think it has motivated me to work harder in preparation for the season. I have been putting a lot of work and effort even outside of practice to create new goals for myself in order to improve my skills.”