Omicron impacts winter sports

As Omicron continues to rise, the increase in COVID 19 cases has impacted the winter sports season in many ways.
At the start of the winter sports season, COVID wasn’t as much of a problem as it was now.
All teams have been doing their part to stay safe since the start of the season, like wearing masks.
But now COVID-19 cases have increased, extra precautionary measures have been put in place to help keep athletes safe.
One of the ways FCPS has kept athletes safe is by limiting the amount of spectators that can watch winter sports events.
“Our attendance at games has been impacted. Family members are the only fans allowed at games, and FCPS just added another week to this requirement. This will be in place until January 29th,” Director of Student Activities John Ellenberger said.
The limited spectator rule is a good way to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Although fans cheering their team on impacts a team’s success, the safety of the athletes comes first.
“Covid has definitely had an impact this season, causing limited crowds. It cancelled multiple games and personally affected some players,” junior basketball player Steven Liu said.
Limited crowds have definitely negatively impacted the basketball teams, as fans are a very important part of having home court advantage.
Without fans in attendance, home court advantage is mitigated.
“Playing games with limited spectators definitely brings the energy down in the gym,” Liu said.
COVID has also impacted when games are being played.
A combination of snow and COVID has caused some select players to miss some games and practices, along with some teams’ games having to be rescheduled.
“At Annandale HS, we have only had a couple game cancellations this year. Those games are being rescheduled now. Since most of our athletes are vaccinated, we’ve been able to get teams back to practice and games fairly quickly,” Ellenberger said.
Vaccinations have really helped teams bounce back quickly from COVID setbacks, while also helping protect many athletes from catching the virus.
Last year, there were many strict regulations put in place to try and keep athletes safe at all times.
But now that the amount of COVID cases has increased since the start of the season, many old regulations are being put into place again.
“We’ve reinstated all of the rules set in place last season to ensure everyone’s safety, like spreading out swimmers in each lane so there are less swimmers in each lane at a time, only cheering outside the water when we have masks on, and getting extra strict about putting on a face mask right as you get out of the water,” junior swimmer Chelsi Lilli said.
The increase of COVID-19 cases have impacted winter sports in a big way, and it’s important that athletes stay safe.
“It definitely sucks that some of our traditions are halted, but it [Safety regulations] will be worth it if our season doesn’t get cancelled early,” Lilli said.