Lace up, mask up

Adin Halbfinger, Incoming News Editor

With the recent spike in COVID-19 cases, many CESJDS students have become concerned about a potential cancellation of the winter sports season. To minimize the chances of this, many member schools of the PVAC are updating their restrictions and will require masks during games again. 

According to Athletic Director and girls varsity basketball coach Becky Silberman, in addition to mandating masks during indoor games, JDS will also limit attendance if needed.

The only JDS home games this year that required restrictions on attendance were the varsity boys and girls basketball games against Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy on Dec. 16 and against Beth Tfiloh on Jan. 8.

While the PVAC has no plans to cancel the basketball season, they will be altering the schedule to limit the effect of potential cancellations of individual games. To do this, PVAC will switch from their traditional two-division format, with schools playing teams in their division twice, and others once, to a one division format, with schools playing all other teams once.

This is designed to give more leeway to schools if they need to cancel games for COVID-19, as not all games will count towards the league standings. The games that will be dropped from the PVAC schedule will not be canceled, but will just not count towards the league standings. 

The second set of highly anticipated Berman vs. JDS basketball games scheduled for Jan. 29 still took place, although the audience was limited to 130 spectators from JDS, with family members and seniors getting priority.

Sophomore girls varsity basketball player Darya Dayanim hoped to play in front of a full crowd at the second Berman vs. JDS game as she was disappointed that the attendance was limited at the first one. However, Dayanim does accept that certain precautions are necessary to slow down the spread of COVID-19. 

“I hope they do what’s right until COVID is actually over,” Dayanim said. “I would like it for them to keep no masks during games, just because it’s most practical, … but, other than that, I don’t mind anything that the PVAC is doing in regards to restrictions.”

While Dayanim is content with JDS’s COVID-19 mitigations, students like sophomore JV boys basketball player Ron Nuriely-Kimel are looking forward to the day that they will not have to wear a mask while playing.

“At some point, [the mask] gets so bad when there’s no stoppage of play for a while,” Kimel said. “I almost fainted a few times just because I couldn’t take my mask off.”

Kimel does believe that it is important to have restrictions and precautions to prevent the spread of the virus, but his struggles to play with a mask have led him to ponder other options.

“I think we should do rapid tests before the games of both teams to see if they have COVID,” Kimel said. “Assuming everyone is negative, maybe we can take [masks] off during games.”

Silberman said that, because of the price and scarcity of accurate rapid COVID-19 tests, this option would not be feasible, and JDS will have to continue with its current precautions.

The dance and swim teams also have restrictions to protect against COVID-19. The dance team is required to wear masks during performances and practices, and the swim team must wear them while they are not actively swimming. Additionally, spectators are not allowed at swim meets. The winter track team, on the other hand, which meets outside, does not have any COVID-19 constraints.

“When I’m in track, I’m able to just not think about COVID, so I hope they don’t implement too many restrictions,” sophomore and winter track runner Ethan Safra said.