Sports Brief: Athletic director says coaches, athletes continue following COVID-19 plan

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To discuss the impact of COVID-19 on athletics and how athletes and coaches are adjusting, sports editor Caroline Wilburn and athletic director Valerie Little sit down in the ENO newsroom to talk. Little said she thinks the district is doing well so far. "It’s been so much better than I expected," Little said. "Because for the most part we will follow rules. We do what we’re supposed to. I truly think our coaches and kids have been unbelievable with it. We haven’t had to fight it too much."

Caroline Wilburn

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In spite of challenges created by a hybrid-learning school start as well as heightened care protocols placed on athletic teams, athletics director Valerie Little said she is impressed by how her coaches and athletes have followed the guidelines to stay safe. 

“I think, and this may sound negative, but it’s been so much better than I expected,” Little said. “Because, for the most part, we will follow rules. We do what we’re supposed to.” 

If an athlete is diagnosed with COVID-19, they and anyone they were around for more than 15 minutes without a mask, will be quarantined for 14 days.

“First thing we do is report it to the school nurse,” Little said. “Our campus nurse handles all of those cases. Once they are positive and school is in session, they talk with the assistant principal. They talk with our athletic trainer, and then they go back and do contact tracing and see every single person that athlete was around.” 

Little points out that this also presents an additional challenge for athlete and coach relationships. 

“That’s where that hard balance is,” Little said. “You’re supposed to build a relationship with your coach, but they’re harping on you the whole time about wearing your mask.” You’re frustrated. They’re frustrated, so it’s been hard to find that balance. But, because kids have been so good about wearing them it hasn’t been an issue.”

After months of study, the district released its plan for back to school policies, Which are designed to ensure the safety of coaches and athletes. 

“We’ve got a 25-page plan of what they do, what the process looks like, and because I think we spent so much time on that, they are following it, and it is working pretty well right now,” Little said. “I truly think our coaches and kids have been unbelievable with it, we haven’t had to fight it too much.”

While Prosper is one of the few districts with face-to-face learning and athletics, Little said she is confident in the district’s coaches, athletes and policies. 

“I think you just have to be intentional when you come up with your policies and think about everything and go ‘when a kid comes in, what does that look like?'” Little said.  “But day-to-day, as long as you know that your people are following the policies, it’s not that nerve-wracking. But, there are a lot of people that are just waiting for us to fail.”