Posted on: April 4, 2021 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

By Ethan Holesha, Sports Editor

If you go to the Moraine Valley Cyclones Facebook page, you might be surprised to see photos and highlight videos showing athletes not wearing masks.  

Although many sports have returned to some level of normalcy, the COVID-19 pandemic is far from gone. That raises the question: Is Moraine Valley athletics following COVID protocols?

The answer appears to be yes. In fact, in some cases, Moraine is going beyond what’s required.

The National Junior College Athletic Association provides guidance on COVID-19 protocols.

Athletes and coaches have been following protocols passed down by the National Junior College Athletic Association Illinois Region IV for the past several months. MV athletic director Bill Finn has made it a priority to follow the guidelines, which can differ from sport to sport and even from situation to situation.

For instance, NJCAA guidelines require volleyball players to wear masks covering their nose and mouth while on the sidelines or bench, but not during game play.

Although they are not required to wear masks, many of Moraine’s volleyball players choose to keep them on while playing.

Overall, Finn said, “Moraine has done a really good job. We have not had a positive case yet. It’s amazing.”

With four fall sports already played as well as the five current spring sports underway, no athlete has tested positive, he said. No seasons have been called off or further postponed due to a positive COVID-19 case on campus. 

Women’s volleyball outside hitter Brianna Knezz, masked, goes up for a spike against McHenry County College on Mar. 17.

If an athlete does feel sick, “Moraine Valley has a really good tracing program now,” Finn said. “There’s an actual person in charge, Amy Bryla.” 

Bryla is the campus safety coordinator. She and her team are responsible for the contact tracing and will get in touch with everyone who has been around that person.

Finn recalls an instance when an athlete felt sick and Bryla had to be informed.

“The woman ended up being negative, but Amy called me and explained that they have a tracing group that called all the players on that team, got statements from them, where they were in practice, where they sat, who they drove home with, and how many minutes or hours they were next to somebody,” he said. “They had a really detailed situation on what had transpired.” 

I feel safe playing this season.”

Soccer Midfielder Gisselle Almazan

Although Moraine is following the protocols, it is not going as far as testing athletes for COVID-19.

“I’d say 40 percent of the junior colleges in Illinois have some testing program,” Finn said. “It’s a cost factor number one.”

However, athletes say they are comfortable with what is being done.

“I feel safe playing this season,” said sophomore women’s soccer midfielder Gisselle Almazan. “Before training we always get temperature checks.”

Sophomore baseball pitcher Nick Easton said, “Being outside, it’s easier to stay apart from one another.”

Moraine has yet to open attendance for spectators of indoor sporting events. However, outdoor events just had their maximum capacity moved up to 50 people per event. Fans are not required to wear masks if they are responsible with their groups and stay six feet away from other pods of people. 

At the last home softball game, there were around 30 spectators, according to Finn. He was impressed with initiative taken by the spectators as they were all following the safety rules.

“They were spaced well,” he said. “Because it’s outdoors, some were on the hill, some were behind the dugouts, some were on the sidelines. They were trying to go by the rules.”

Frequent live streams of indoor sporting events have made it possible for the families, friends, and fans of these athletes to view the games in a safe manner.