Covid Looms Over Athletics

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Tammy Carmosino

The band, cheerleaders, and football team on the first home game of 2020 the season.

Delaney Fickle, Reporter

Due to the effects of COVID-19, fall sports at General McLane high school have been significantly changed this 2020 season. Starting August 7, Pennsylvania Governor, Tom Wolf, announced that all fall sports were to be postponed two weeks. His ultimate recommendation was to cancel all sports until January 1, 2021.

     After a meeting with the Department of Heath, it was announced that fall sports could continue if they followed PIAA’s guidelines for restarting sports in the state. 

    General McLane’s athletic director, Rob Kennerknecht, describes how he’s navigated through all of the safety and policy changes this season.  “It’s definitely been challenging. Going back to mid-June, we put together the health and safety plan for our teams to begin holding voluntary conditioning sessions. By mid-July we were expanding that plan to cover full practices in August. Then, in August, we had the start of our fall season moved back two weeks while the PIAA worked out how we could safely conduct Athletics while still following expanded guidelines.” 

     General McLane hosted their first home football game on September 12. This game was allowed 250 fans, but was also live-streamed for anyone to watch at home. Senior and captain of the cheerleading team, Savannah Yonkin, explains how COVID-19 has altered cheerleading compared to past years.

     “COVID-19 has affected cheerleading in less ways than I thought it would. At the beginning of the season, we had little hope that we would have a football season to cheer for. We did not expect to be able to stunt or come within six feet of one another. Over time, more and more restrictions have been lifted, which has been very positive for us, and gives us something to keep working on. We have surprisingly been able to do almost everything we have in the past, but with daily temperature checks and questions before each practice and game. As captain, it has brought some day-to-day stress on me trying to put together cheers while still following Covid restrictions, but I am extremely thankful to be able to lead this team.”

    With all the on going changes, the athletic department has been working hard to keep every teams safe and healthy.  “If we’ve learned anything, it’s that change will occur (often without warning), and we have to do our best to adjust what we do to remain compliant,” stated Kennerknecht.