Because of Covid-19, our athletic department had to come up with ways to keep our student athletes safe. Indiana was one of the fourteen states that is allowing athletes to have a normal season and not have it pushed back. To really secure the athlete’s seasons this year, Hanover’s athletic department has come up with rules and a lot of safety precautions to ensure that. I asked Kelly Bermes, head of the athletic department, what she had to go through and learn to help keep our school safe and this is what she said:
What restrictions were we given by the state?
“We have been given different restrictions as the phases have been changed. We started in July with more restrictions than today. At that time, we were not allowed to have any fans. We had to cut the number of hours we allowed teams to practice and condition. We were not allowed to use locker rooms. We had to have a plan to use the weight room and limit the number of kids in the weightroom at the same time. “
What kind of regulations has hanover put in place since covid started?
“We really try to do a better job of cleaning equipment. We use Lysol cleaning wipes to wash the balls in between sets or time outs. We wear masks in the hallways, locker rooms, on the buses, etc. We also began asking the Covid questions each day hoping that families were screening at home also. We have had to limit the number of fans and try to social distance them. Mrs. Heldt and I spent quite a few hours putting tape on the bleachers signaling where fans could sit. “
How do you think we are doing, as a school, with all of these COVID restrictions?
“I think we are doing pretty well! I only have to remind kids about their masks every so often. It was tougher at first, but our athletes have really accepted it and know that this may be why we are still playing.”
How has covid affected sports this year?
“We have had to schedule and reschedule!! We also lost a few athletes who chose to e-learn at home and not participate.”
Have there been any coaches putting in their own restrictions regarding practice? “I think they all follow our guidelines. Some coaches are just a little more careful than others. Football has always been a little more restrictive due to the nature of the sport. Everyone in the state was very worried about football since there is so much contact.”
How are you ensuring that people are staying safe at games?
“We just keep talking and enforcing our rules about wearing masks and staying socially distant. We have limited ticket sales and we try to keep visitors away from the home fans. We put up new bleachers in the football stadium so that visitors sit away from the home fans. We added a visitor concession stand so they don’t have to go to ours. We added bleachers in the end zone for students to sit away from everyone and we really demand that student fans wear masks.”
Were there any sports events canceled because of COVID?
“There have been games cancelled but it was always due to the other teams canceling, not us.”
How is the school reassuring cleanliness?
“They provided us with spray bottles of sanitizer. They bought us a misting machine that we use in the locker rooms and weight room. We spray the cheer mat with it also.”
How would you compare Hanover’s restrictions compared to other schools?
“I think we are all very similar. I participate in a state Athletic Director Zoom meeting each week and we all share ideas. We try to follow best practices. I think we may have been just one of a few schools who had athletes quarantine after vacationing this summer in a hot spot.”
Do you feel that the games have changed a lot since last year?
“I don’t think the athletes’ experiences have changed as far as the game. The only part that has changed is maybe where the athletes sit or stand or the use of locker rooms at away games.”
How is the athletic department dealing with the loss of fans because of COVID? “This is a tough one. We have taken losses at football only due to the limited ticket sales. We are cutting back in other areas and hope the kids do not feel the loss of finances.”
How has your job changed this year?
“I have been to a lot more practices trying to make sure that our coaches and kids are doing the right things. This was a welcome change since I was a bit stir crazy during the time that we were sent home. I couldn’t wait to get back to kids and sports!”