Student athletes change to all-virtual to avoid tracing


Shane Rich, Editor-in-Chief

With student athletes pushing through the school year balancing both sports and academics, the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to find new ways to spread and cancel sporting events. In an effort to remain available for their sports, students at Bernards High School have found a new way to play through their sports seasons, without the risk of missing out due to a positive in-school covid test (resulting in a 10 day quarantine period because of contact tracing). As student athletes want to play a full-season for their sports teams, those have found it effective to become all-virtual during their respective seasons.

The question is if it’s an effective way to approach the spring sports season. Winter sports such as Boys and Girls basketball has come to an end, but with Fencing, Swimming, and Wrestling all pushing back their start dates, all fall into the spring sports season. Expanding the spring season, more athletes will look to go all-virtual to avoid any stoppage of their season. With four recent positive covid cases surrounding the wrestling team, more student athletes at BHS may use this as an opportunity to save their seasons.

After a Del Val player tested positive after a game against the boys basketball team, they found themselves with no practices nor games for two weeks. With no positive tests on their team during the season, the boys team finished 9-4 with a playoff appearance against Bound Brook. 

So how did all of this start? When did it become a trend at Bernards High School to go all-virtual during their sports season?

As Bernards High School reaches month two with the combination of cohorts, there still hasn’t been a positive in school covid test (all reported out of school). No student athletes have gone to school and later received a positive covid test. The kryptonite of it all is contact tracing – one of the biggest reasons why student athletes have decided to go all-virtual. Those that play sports may spend time with their teammates and friends out of school, but when attending in-person learning, where your peers have been may put you at risk.

When asking Varsity basketball player Dane Costabile ‘22 on why he made this decision to go all-virtual with two weeks left in his season, he said “I decided to go all virtual just because of all of the health risks of going into public school. It’s one thing to be with people you can trust to be responsible, but when you’re going to school you have to interact with people who potentially can not be taking the virus seriously. Especially when you’re an athlete, risking getting the virus or being contact traced in school can be a huge risk when your whole season is on the line, you can take your classes home and eliminate that risk entirely. I know a number of seniors who missed huge chunks of their senior year sports season because of being contact traced, which is why I think it could be the responsible decision to just stay home and go virtual.” 

The possibility of student athletes going all-virtual for spring sports is high, and with April 1st creeping up on BHS, Dane says “I think in the spring more than ever student athletes will go virtual, most importantly for seniors. This is their last chance to play a high school sport and I think if they really value that and want to have a complete season, then they’d go virtual to eliminate the risk of being contact traced.”

Seniors at Bernards may look to make the change to all-virtual ahead of the spring sports season, but could jeopardize walking the halls of BHS for the last time. If seniors that do play sports look to go all-virtual, they could be saying their final goodbyes within the building, “but on the other hand it’s also their last chance to go to school as seniors too, so it really comes down to what each individual senior cares about most.” said Costabile.

As the end of Marking Period 3 is upon us and spring sports are starting soon, a decrease in in-person students could be upon us. With seniors counting down the days till graduation, their decision will impact the end of their senior year greatly. Contact tracing has continued to affect athletes and their sports status, as a rise in all-virtual students could be very possible.