City College Athletics Resume with COVID-19 Precautions
By Colton Webster
City College athletes have resumed practice with COVID-19 precautions in place.
In a news release dated Feb. 8, Interim Chancellor Rajen Vurdien announced that athletes made their return to the field in addition to being the only school in the Coast Conference division cleared for competition by the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH).
In the phases outlined by the athletics department, teams have moved from phase zero to phase one which includes socially distanced in-person conditioning while wearing masks in small groups called pods.
Head Football Coach Jimmy Collins said the team is currently in phase one of the SFDPH plan which includes training in pods of nine or less athletes per coach.
Collins also added that the team follows safety precautions including wearing masks while on the field and social distancing 12 feet between every player.
“As a program we’ve researched all the professional organizations that have done really well in terms of preventing COVID,” Collins said, citing NFL team the Seattle Seahawks as an example.
Dino Kahaulelio, a sophomore defensive end for Rams football said that the pod training is going “better than I thought it would, honestly … [however] we’re not allowed to use pads or weights or anything … [and] we run the track a bunch.”
The phases run in two week intervals, Collins said, adding that phase two should include “some sort of competition against each other, not in pads; just kind of start developing, getting ready for eventually getting pads on later this spring.”
Student Health Services Administrator Michael Snider said in a phone interview that all athletes are being tested for COVID-19 on campus every Wednesday. The testing is being carried out in conjunction with the college’s nursing program, with nursing students performing the exam under the direction of testing company Genetworx, the college’s nursing faculty, and athletic trainers according to the news release.
In an email from Women’s Athletic Director Jamie Hayes, she said “[City College’s] purchasing department negotiated the contract with Genetworx, [and] ITS [Information Technology Services] helped with the onboarding of the Aura App and Wi-Fi needed to run the testing site.”
Asked to gauge the reception of his team’s return to in person training Kahaulelio said, “a lot of people are really excited about it, we’re really glad to be back.”
The chances of being able to play in competition against other teams this spring remain uncertain. If the competition goes ahead, it will likely take place in early April or late March, and will consist of six games wherein City College would play two games each against a total of three teams.
Regarding the challenges the City College Athletic Department has faced during the pandemic, Collins said, “I think we’ve learned to be flexible and adaptable and just understand it’s a very fluid situation,” adding, “as you cross minor obstacles you can stop and problem solve and figure out how to go about it as efficiently and as safely as possible.”