By Andrew Lynch ’23
April 7, 2021
As Hobart and William Smith Colleges approach the final weeks of the spring semester, sports teams have begun the process of returning to a somewhat normal schedule. Prior to the start of the semester, HWS athletic director Deb Steward made the announcement that allowed spring athletic teams to compete against other schools. What ultimately led to this decision required extensive protocol and an intense focus in order to help keep all students healthy on campus.
The protocols implemented this past fall and winter included phases of return to competitive play. The first phase included only testing, second phase was small groups, third phase involved larger team practices, and the fourth phase allowed competition.
Teams were unable to reach the fourth phase during the fall and winter but having gained more knowledge about the COVID-19 virus and new vaccines rolling out. Teams this spring have finally reached full competition.
A number of factors played into this decision, but the outdoor nature of spring sports had been an important aspect, as transmission rates were much lower for these types of conditions. Yet there’s still strict precautions as athletes must get tested 3 days before competition and the day of.
With all the adversity and hardships experienced over the past year, coaches and staff have still been able to see the silver lining through all of this. They have become more united and learned life lessons by being resilient and looking out for one another. HWS Athletic Director, Deb Steward, says “Now we have a greater appreciation for being able to compete [and] be with our teammates and colleagues on a daily basis while getting to do what we love”.
Moving forward, HWS athletics will continue to work towards getting not only student-athletes healthy but all of student life back to a healthy, normal place. A positive indicator of this has been the recent scheduling process that took place. Teams have submitted their schedules for next season, just like any other year.
The focus for HWS Athletics remains the same: trust the process. Steward says “The process is extremely important to us, we believe if we do the process correctly then the outcome will take care of itself”.
Featured Image by Ani Freedman.