By Jessica Nunes
At the beginning of November, members of The Cascade Collegiate Conference (CCC) in Corvallis, Ore. announced a “Return to Play Plan” for intercollegiate athletes.
With COVID-19 affecting the seasons of many spring teams, the CCC has established a plan for all team in the upcoming spring. The conference presidents approved this plan, which includes significant changes such as daily symptom screening for all teams and weekly PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) tests for all teams in season. This weekly PCR testing will happen three weeks before a team’s first scheduled CCC competition, and it will continue until the end of that team’s season.
In addition to this plan, the CCC established a partnership with Dr. Sarah Comstock from Corban University and with Santiam Hospital in Salem, Ore. where they will have access to salvia testing for COVID-19. Comstock also received authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this past summer to use her own COVID test. However, she and the CCC plan to use the ‘DirectSalvia’ method to use these tests because they can conduct 900 tests per day.
The Cross-Country team had their season opener on Nov. 6 in Oregon. Men’s and women’s basketball is tentatively scheduled to begin conference play on Jan. 8, volleyball on Jan. 28, and men’s and women’s soccer on Feb. 12. Additionally, all spring sports are scheduled to remain the same this upcoming year.
However, each sport looks different during this time. In talking with junior Samantha Vanloo about the transition into this year’s basketball season, Vanloo explains how the effects of COVID-19 aren’t going to diminish her team’s spirit.
“I am excited to compete again! We have a lot of key players that are returning along with a good group of new players. Right now, we are just taking things as they come and working hard to get better each day,” Vanloo says.
With these new guidelines in place Abigail Broussard, a junior on the volleyball team, explains their practices’ adjustments. From having to wear masks during their practices and the team being split into two groups, Broussard expresses how eager she is to get back on the court with her teammates despite these challenges.
“The support from our parents and friends plays a huge role in games, but as my coach always says, ‘we can control what we can control.’ Therefore, we will find a way to make the most out of this season,” Broussard says.
With these new rules put in place, safety is the most important thing during this time. With the CCC coming out with a Return to Play Plan, it is encouraging that our athletes can anticipate a season this academic year.