Spring Sports Resume With New COVID-19 Protocols
by Santé Shasko
All Spring and Fall 2020 sports at Pitt-Greensburg were cancelled due to the pandemic. However, this spring, Pitt-Greensburg is preparing to resume athletics.
Director of Athletics, Jeromy Yetter, is looking forward to starting up spring sports such as baseball and basketball.
“Spring sports will begin a phased approach the week of Feb. 14,” Mr. Yetter said.
Each team will be following the NCAA’s COVID-19 guidelines, which aim to prevent the spread of the virus. (The NCAA guidelines are available at this link.)
With the NCAA guidelines in place, there will be more frequent testing on student-athletes. Also, for sports deemed higher risk by CDC guidelines, such as basketball, athletes will be tested more often, travel less, and have an abbreviated schedule. Basketball is considered higher risk because it’s a contact sport and it uses shared equipment, such as the basketball.
Mr. Yetter is optimistic about the start of the spring season, including the plans in place if a player or coach were to contract COVID-19.
If that were to happen, CDC guidelines require surveillance testing with an antigen test that takes between 15 to 20 minutes to show results. This is then followed by a PCR test, which can show if someone currently has the virus in their system, but there must be a certain number of viral molecules in the body in order for them to be detected.
In some cases, test results can come back as a false negative or false positive. According to Harvard Medical School, PCR tests result in false negatives about 20 percent of the time when done at least five days after symptoms begin, but false-negative results can occur up to 100 percent of the time when they’re performed before the fifth day of symptoms. Antigen tests have a much higher rate of false-negative results, and the CDC recommends using them in conjunction with PCR tests.
False positives are possible for both tests, but according to Harvard Medical School, these are almost always due to lab errors such as accidental contamination.
If any student were to test positive, they would be required to isolate for 10 to 14 days.
Mr. Yetter felt that the COVID-19 pandemic brought the teams closer together (although not literally) and showed how resilient the student-athletes at Pitt-Greensburg are.
“Every day, when I get to see our student-athletes at 4 p.m. practice, even with face masks and socially distant, it is amazing to see how persevering they are,” Mr. Yetter said, “and makes it all worth it.”
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