JDS sports give students a sense of community during pandemic


photo courtesy of Alec Silberg

Freshman Yaeli Greenblum swims laps during practice.

Elliot Rogal, Reporter

After a long day of virtual learning, freshman Yaeli Greenblum goes to the school building for track. She then socializes with friends before starting her warmup. Since the pandemic limited social interactions, after school sports have given students opportunities to reconnect with friends.

“[Doing sports at JDS] has helped me because especially when we didn’t go back into the building, I never saw them,” Greenblum said. “The people I did sports with usually during the school year I get to see again and have that connection with them.”

Director of Athletics Becky Silberman believes that while it would have been nice to have in-person school, in-person athletics have helped students socialize until a full return is possible.

“I think having our athletics program this year has kind of been a lifesaver for people,” Silberman said. “It gave people a way to get out of the house and see their friends.”

Silberman believes that while transitioning back from distance to in-person learning has been complicated, it was much easier to transfer sports over to a COVID-19-safe activity. In order to make sure that the students were safe, she made sure to abide by the Montgomery County public health guidelines and added stricter rules such as a ban on scrimmaging.

With the absence of in-person learning, students have felt more isolated, and have had a more limited social life. For Junior Benjamin Guggenheim, sports have served as a time to branch out and talk to people that he would not usually hang out with.

“There are some people who I’m not going to be keeping in great contact with outside of sports because I’m not super close with them,” Guggenheim said. “It’s nice to see them and converse during track. [Talking to them] has been a positive.”

However, students have worries about the toll that hybrid learning will take on sports. Greenblum suspects that sports will lose some of their significance in her social life as the opportunity of in-person school becomes more frequent.

“It’s still important to me but it’s going to be less exciting to go because I’ve already seen everyone,” Greenblum said.

Going forward, Silberman feels that while students are returning to more in-person learning, sports will still have some level of importance for students’ social lives.

“I think sports are still gonna be that main way for [students to socialize],” Silberman said. ”I think people still [want] to do it for the social aspect.”