As Menlo-Atherton and Woodside high schools prepare to reopen this fall amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, many student athletes have begun their summer conditioning exercises.
Both schools are following strict Sequoia Union High School District safety guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus as student athletes begin their physical training. The district's guidelines gave the green light for sports conditioning as of June 16, but include significant rules such as a minimum of 6 feet distance between athletes, workouts broken into groups of 12, and no balls or equipment allowed during the sessions.
Additionally, athletes must complete health screenings and temperature checks prior to the workout and bring their own water bottles, and hand sanitizing stations must be available on site. Students and coaches should wear face coverings, the guidelines say, unless masks impede breathing while exercising.
Woodside High School currently has athletes attending workouts in football, basketball, water polo and cheerleading, according to Athletic Director Tim Faulkner.
At Menlo-Atherton High School, only football and water polo have begun conditioning, while cross country and golf athletes are encouraged to work out on their own, according to Athletic Director Steven Kryger. Football coaches are breaking the school's football field into four quadrants of 12 athletes each, and workouts have no equipment or physical contact, Kryger said. Meanwhile, water polo sessions have athletes doing swimming exercises with 6 feet of distance between each other.
Faulkner and Kyrger each said that they could not confirm whether formal practices or games would begin for their schools this fall. Kryger said that the decision will depend on how the pandemic goes in the coming months. "The science and numbers are going to dictate what we do," he said.
Despite uncertainty about the prospect of playing real games in the fall, Kryger said that student athletes participating in Menlo-Atherton's sports conditioning workouts have been in high spirits. "They're excited," he said. "It's a big part of who they are. Physically, emotionally, and socially it's healthy."