As the fall semester at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University comes to an end, students still manage to find fun and engaging activities to participate in despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, such as the recent Halloween event put on by the Student Government Association’s Auxiliary. Unfortunately for many students, until recently, athletics was not one of the events available to them.
At the beginning of the fall semester, Embry-Riddle had resumed athletics programs from their suspension in spring. The re-started athletic activities took proper safety precautions to ensure that there would be no COVID-19 spread during athletic activities. By Sept. 7, Embry-Riddle had canceled the athletic programs again. At that time, Director of Athletics for the Prescott Campus, Jaime Long said that the decision to cancel athletics was made because some teams and athletes were not following safety protocols and that the break was instituted to “revisit all policies with athletes and staff to ensure everyone was safe and that we were all following protocol.”
Now, the University has decided to resume intramural sports. Intramural sports this semester include pickleball, tennis, cornhole, bocce ball, and frisbee golf. These activities were all picked because they were “1v1, non-contact, and could allow for social distancing while playing,” according to Elizabeth Theriault, the Coordinator of Intramural Athletics and an Assistant Women’s Soccer Coach at Embry-Riddle’s Prescott campus.
Theriault said that the decision to resume intramural athletics was a good one because “Intramurals provides students an outlet from school and allows them to get some exercise while having fun with or against their classmates and friends.” She also says that the students and athletes involved enjoyed themselves.
As with everything at Embry-Riddle this semester, safety from COVID-19 is of utmost priority. Theriault says that in addition to all sports being non-contact, before any student was allowed to play, “their student ID card was checked to make sure they had the required sticker of the day and they had completed the required wellness check on campus.” In addition, while playing, all students had to wear masks “even when they were playing so we could make sure safety was first.”
Of course, person-to-person contact is not the only way to spread COVID-19. The virus can also live on surfaces. To combat that danger, Theriault says that “The student staff disinfected all equipment before play, after each game, and at the end of the night.”
Overall, both Long and Theriault think that the decision to resume intramural athletics was safe, with Theriault saying, “I think the decision with all the safety protocols in place was a good one.” Hopefully, students can look forward to continued intramurals in spring.