Student athletes permitted to practice on-campus

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Small glimmers during crazy times.

If this year has taught us anything, it is that the key to success is the ability to adapt when necessary. Unfortunately for University of Regina athletes, they haven’t had much of a chance to try to adapt to our new ways of doing things, but the University has been working hard to begin to make that opportunity possible.
 

Lisa Robertson, Director of Sport, Community Engagement, and Athlete Development, said that though there are no plans for competitions or meets in the fall, they will be allowing athletes who play for University teams to return to campus for practices and the use of gym facilities. The current plan is for student athletes to be able to use gyms one and three, the turf field, the track, some areas of the Fitness and Leisure Centre, and supervised access to the high-performance weight room. Use of the pool is still pending approval by the University Executive Team (UET), but Robertson is hopeful they’ll be able to offer that to athletes as well.

“The health and safety of the staff and student-athletes were the driving factors in making the decision to return to training on campus,” said Robertson when asked about the factors that led to their decisions and procedures. “We based all our protocols on the Re-Open Sask. plan and in many cases our protocols are stricter.” These protocols include daily COVID-19 screening, contact tracing, smaller training groups, three-metre social distancing when individuals aren’t masked, and leaving the locker rooms closed.

Wade Huber has been the cross country and track and field coach for the past six years, and competed with the track team himself from 2004-2009. His base-rule for practices this fall will be, “If you’re sick you stay home, it’s not the time to tough through things right now.” Flu season is rapidly approaching and, unfortunately, it’s anyone’s guess how that will impact the spread of coronavirus. If you stay home when sick you’ll be protecting yourself from catching something additional to what you’ve already caught, and you’ll protect others from having their immune systems unnecessarily burdened.

Huber had a unique take on why he believed it was important to get athletes practicing again. 

“We have to get back in and train, because as of right now we have to plan that we could have a season in January. I think if we’re not allowed to train, you’re opening athletes up to injuries. It’s good to get athletes back into a good headspace, safely allowing them to do the sport they’re here to play.”

 At present there’s been no official decision made on the possibility of games and meets for the winter season, but Huber says they’re expecting to hear a decision by mid-October.

Melanie Sanford, who’s been coaching women’s volleyball at the University for 19 years, reports that her team has been cooperative and understanding regarding the new procedures. 

“If we do not follow them, we will not be allowed to practice,” she mentioned, so there’s really no room for people who are unwilling to adjust. “It is important to adapt to the new reality and provide support to our student athletes as they navigate a very different season.”

Respect is a natural response when someone’s able to walk the walk and talk the talk, and Robertson has undoubtedly shown that she can do both through this process. Her “walk” has been the ability to orchestrate new procedures and policies for both coaches and student athletes, and to work in tandem with University administration and the UET to ensure our campus is as safe as possible for the teams’ return. Her “talk” can be summed up in this Winston Churchill quote that she includes in her email signature: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it’s the courage to continue that counts.”

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