South activities feel the effects of Covid

Lizzie Allen, Editor

South has had 11 reported student Covid cases since the beginning of the school year, and currently has fewer than 5 cases. But even such small numbers have had big effects on the students and activities around the school. 

Sounds of South has canceled their live performances this year, the boys cross country team has had two members go into quarantine, and the football team went into quarantine and canceled their game last Friday because of positive cases. 

Sounds of South started the year hopeful that eventually things would be normal enough for their traditional fall musical to be held, but it quickly became clear that wouldn’t be the case. 

“Normally we start practicing for our fall musical in July, and at that point we weren’t sure what was going to happen, but we knew it was going to be something different from normal,” said senior member Savannah Bretsch. 

Instead of an in-person musical, Sounds of South adeptly switched tracks and is rehearsing to film a video of their performance of Carousel. The class still meets and rehearses, but masked up and with plenty of social distancing. And even though it may not look like or feel like or be like performances of the past, the members are just happy they get to perform. 

“Everyone was happy to be able to find a solution where we could still have the opportunity to do something and sing together,” said Bretsch. “While it isn’t the senior musical I always dreamed of, I’m so glad we still get to perform together.”

The boys cross country team started the season with similar high hopes, but their year has looked a bit more normal than Sounds of Souths’ will. The varsity team finished second at sectionals on Saturday, and all but two runners made it completely through the season without being affected by Covid. 

The two members who were affected by Covid went into quarantine on September 29 after contact tracing revealed they had been exposed to the virus. The rest of the team was monitored for symptoms, but have remained healthy.

“I don’t think anyone… was too surprised [that members caught Covid], as the virus is very contagious and it could have been anyone that got it. To make it all the way through the summer and most of the season without any issues was quite good, so I suppose it would’ve happened at some point despite all the protective measures from everyone,” said senior Emerson Bessler. 

From the beginning of practices, the coaches implemented strict precautionary measures. Teammates remain six feet apart and wear masks unless actively running. Members are divided into groups of runners of the same speed, who they have remained with throughout the season. Runners and coaches are monitored for Covid symptoms, and go through the subsequent safety procedure if symptoms appear. And because the precautions surrounding Covid have been so high, the runners were not too concerned about the virus as they joined the team. 

“I knew that the coaches would try their best to keep everyone safe and make sure nobody gets Covid,” said freshman Ryan Rheam.

“Initially before practices had begun in the summer I was hesitant about joining … but as more information came out about the reduced risks when outside and the effectiveness of masks, combined with the plan put together by the coaches to prevent the spread, I was no longer concerned,” said Bessler. 

The Monroe County Health Department halted all football team activities last Monday, October 5, as contact tracing and tests showed rising numbers of positive Covid cases on the team. The Panthers’ scheduled game against Roncalli for Friday, October 9 was canceled, and the team went into quarantine. The Panthers will return to the field against Bishop Chatard October 16. 

Covid is affecting just about every aspect of life today. It doesn’t stop at school or extracurriculars, and South activities and South students have felt Covid’s impact firsthand.