COVID-19 Recent News & Updates

Athletics Update: Aug. 31

Hello Upper School Student-Athletes and Families,

I appreciate your patience and flexibility surrounding our athletic department decisions. As you can imagine, the independent school athletics landscape is changing almost daily, and we are doing our best with both short- and long-term planning. Some updates about this fall are below.

This fall, DA Athletics will welcome all students into its teams and will not cut any student-athletes. The “no-cut” policy will be evaluated on a season-by-season basis moving forward.  

Student-athletes are expected to attend all team events and prioritize their team over other non-scholastic activities. All fall teams will continue to practice with athletes at least 6 feet apart at all times and wearing masks unless engaged in physical activity. DA is currently in discussions with local peer schools to create a competition plan for both low- and moderate-risk sports. The goal is to have competition in a safe manner for all of sports, but a date has not been set to begin competitions.

At-home learners will have to find transportation to school for practice. Because Upper School practices will include athletes from both on-campus and at-home cohorts, DA athletic training staff will rescreen and temperature check ALL student-athletes prior to the start of practice.  

More information about fall practice schedules can be found here.

Athletics staff and coaches have created an equipment and locker room plan that continues to follow DA’s protocol of de-densifying students and social distancing. Athletics will be experimenting with a supervised after-school study hall for student-athletes who cannot be picked up or drive home on Block 2 and Block 4 days (where classes end at 1:45 p.m. and most practices do not begin until 4 p.m.) Kirby Gym will also have directional signage to reduce traffic flow and prevent intermixing of large groups of students.

STUDY HALL – An after school Study Hall will be offered on Block 2 (Tuesdays) and Block 4 (Thursdays) during the week of Aug. 31. Student-athletes are highly encouraged to drive home or be picked up to go home to do so in between their last class and their 4 p.m. practice. Certain sports, with available coaches, will be able to start practice prior to 4 p.m. Any student-athlete who remains on campus after their final class and is not involved with a school-sanctioned activity will need to attend the Study Hall (located under the tents by the Upper School fields). There is no need to sign up, but DA Athletics will keep a record of who attends. 

LOCKER ROOMS – Kirby Gym locker rooms will be monitored by DA Athletics staff and will be open for 15 minutes for each team prior to their practice. Only 5-6 student-athletes will be allowed in the locker room at a time (depending on the facility). Student-athletes are encouraged to come to school dressed 

for practice to limit the numbers who need locker room usage. Locker rooms will remain closed other than pre-practice 15 minute blocks. Gear or clothing may not be left in locker rooms at any time. 

GEAR STORAGE – Unfortunately, athletes will not have a centralized facility for gear storage during the school day. DA Athletics will continue to explore options for student-athletes who do not drive to school.  Gear cannot be stored in locker rooms or the Kirby Gym. 

KIRBY RESTROOMS – Kirby Gym restrooms will be limited to two students at a time. 

HEALTH SCREENING – All student-athletes, regardless if they attended classes on campus or remotely that day, will be screened by athletic trainer staff prior to practice. 

WATER — All student-athletes should bring a full water bottle to practice. Coaches will have access to hoses to refill water bottles. 

Please communicate any absences or hardships to head coaches. Coaches understand that participating in an athletics program during a hybrid learning model may pose particular challenges for families. 

Coaches will be in touch if athletes are not cleared for practice (the Pre-Participation Physical Form and COVID-19 Waiver on Veracross are mandatory for participation). 

We look forward to seeing you at practice!

Andy Pogach
Director of Athletics