Getting back in the game

A breakdown of sports clearances amid pandemic


Nicole Macgaffey

Associated Student Body (ASB) Sports Commissioner Collin Murphy clears two BVH athletes on Feb. 26. Several tables are set up with ASB Sports Commissioners to clear athletes for upcoming practices.

As several sports are making their return to campus, major changes are being made to the way practices and workouts are held. Before beginning practices, all sports must undergo a process of athletic clearance ensuring that students are safe to practice and play. However with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sweetwater Union High School District (SUHSD) have enforced new protocols to ensure further spread does not occur. On Jan. 28, Bonita Vista High (BVH) sent out an email regarding athletic updates focusing on sports clearance, where the new health protocols will be enforced for student-athletes who have been absent from the fields since quarantine began.  

“In order to get cleared, we need four main papers from students. We need their athlete information, their electronic signature, their physical and their COVID-19 waiver,” Associated Student Body (ASB) Sports Commissioner and senior Tatiana Eustaquio said. “The COVID-19 waiver is a new thing that came in this year in order to [allow] sports during the pandemic.” 

According to Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Robert Arciaga, students have to get cleared for every sport they plan on participating in. Once the students get cleared at the ASB, they must provide a negative COVID-19 test to permit them to practice and play.

“Once [students] bring [their sports applications] in, we’ll check everyone’s temperature before they come near us to make sure that they don’t have a high temperature. We have a table set up outside so that they maintain distance as we clear them,” Eusaquio said. 

Associated Student Body (ASB) Sports Commissioner and senior Tatiana Eustaquio cleared a student for sports clearances on Friday Feb. 26. Sports clearances have been going on for several weeks. (Nicole Macgaffey)

When the students arrive on their first day of practice, they are allowed in once they show their coach the document that confirms they are cleared at the ASB. In addition, they must provide their COVID-19 waiver as proof that their test came out negative. If students are not cleared, they are not allowed to participate in team practices.

“The biggest challenge was taking the COVID-19 test and making sure [teammates were] prepared to make those sacrifices. We have to take another COVID-19 test later on and make sure people are going to be committed to staying healthy so we can keep playing,” girls Golf team member and senior Alexis Guevara said.

Guevara explains that her team has had several practices at the Bonita Golf Course as it has been classified as a purple tier sport cleared to begin practicing in accordance to COVID-19 health precautions.

“We all made sure to wear masks and we stayed far away from each other, which is easy to do during Golf,” Guevara said. “Our coach takes temperatures and does all those safety precautions before practice starts.” 

Guevara adds that there were not many difficulties during her practice, however, there was much less talking due to social distancing in order to enforce safety precautions, but Guevara feels the team still gets along great and enjoyed their time together.

“I really hope we get to play this season, but I understand if we don’t. It’s going to be upsetting because it’s my senior year, but I definitely rather we stay safe so we can get through this pandemic sooner rather than later so that kids that are [freshmen, sophomores or juniors] have a better opportunity to play and have their whole senior year instead of just being a part of it like I did,” Guevara said. 

Arciaga and Eustaquio mention that there will soon be some official games depending on the sport, but due to the everchanging updates in accordance with COVID-19, plans may take a turn. However, health precautions such as the addition of proof of a negative COVID-19 test and mandatory health screenings will keep players on the field practicing until their games begin.   

“The current process has gone pretty smooth so far. We have been able to clear the kids that have registered and the numbers are down because not everybody feels comfortable and is participating in sports, and that’s fine,” Arciaga said. “We do look forward to the resumption of [more] activities at school sooner rather than later when we get the green light.”