Just like in person instruction and students attending campus, sports have returned to normalcy at Las Positas College. Back in the spring, soccer returned with a limited schedule due to COVID-19 related obstacles, such as restrictions and cases among players that canceled some games.
This fall semester, outdoor sports have returned to their normal and lengthy schedules. Men’s and women’s soccer kicked off this new season with shutout victories against Chabot. The men’s soccer won against Chabot was 12-0 and women’s soccer won 3-0.
Andrew Cumbo, head coach of both soccer teams says, “They are full of hardworking and coachable student athletes who are great ambassadors of LPC.”
Cumbo says expectations this season are to identify strengths and weaknesses, and focus on what they do well.
There is optimism about the teams returning to a normal season schedule. “Things are good right now. The mood is very positive and both teams are building chemistry and our identity,” Cumbo says.
As of right now, Las Positas’ outdoor sports teams will be able to play in front of an audience, but under safe and respectful conditions.
Fans in attendance must practice social distancing and wear face coverings. For outdoor sports, face coverings are not required for players, coaches, and staff. For indoor sports, face coverings are required for those not actively participating in the sport.
Erick Bell has been an instructor and is also the interim Dean of Academic Services at Las Positas College.
According to Bell, “…spectators are allowed, but asked to maintain social distance and wear a face covering while on campus.”
In the limited spring season schedule, games were canceled due to positive COVID test results. While teams are returning to a normal schedule, the ongoing delta variant could raise questions.”
According to Bell, the Athletics Department anticipates changes to come, if something were to alter their plans. They have been carefully navigating the health and safety guidelines for intercollegiate sports since July 2020. They are nimble and poised to react accordingly.
Cumbo says, “We learned last year that we need to be flexible and that anything can happen. Obviously the health and safety of not only our student athletes but the opposing ones as well, is the highest priority.”
If anyone is curious if vaccinations are being required in the programs, Bell says, “Our district is requiring students who participate in certain high-risk programs to report their vaccination status.”
Those programs mentioned are Athletics, Emergency Medical Services, Fire Service Technology and Early Childhood Education.
In order to know who tested positive prior to the upcoming games, students are self-screening before they come to campus and get tested at least once a week. If someone tests positive, they will follow Alameda County health protocols. Quarantining those who test positive, are not vaccinated or are vaccinated and showing symptoms.
“If someone on either team were to contract COVID-19, the impact would depend on many different variables,” says Giacomazzi. However, Giacomazzi continues to say, “…[he does] not anticipate postponements or rescheduling. Most likely forfeits if games cannot be played.”
James Giacomazzi enters his 7th season coaching the men’s basketball team, and his second academic year being the director of the Athletics Department. Since Giacomazzi joined Las Positas in 2015, the Hawks have set new school records and performed at an outstanding level.
While outdoor sports are returning to normalcy, there is still uncertainty about what things will look like for indoor sports like basketball. It is most likely that masks will be required, but other things such as vaccinations, capacity and a season schedule are still unknown.
The capacity of attendance for indoor sports might be limited due to precautions such as social distancing. Requirements for vaccinations, or reporting vaccination statuses, might be implemented. If impacted by any mandates or rules, the seasons could be minimized, rearranged, or falter to other alternative approaches.
According to Bell, there won’t be women’s volleyball this season because of the unsuccessful search for a new head coach. However, they expect to have the team back in action next season.
There is anticipation that things will be different for indoor sports compared to outdoor sports. The Las Positas Athletics Department does not want to discuss plans for indoor sports until the potential start of the season is near.
“This has been such a fluid situation, whatever I say today might change a week later,” Giacomazzi says, “We’re just happy to have an opportunity to compete.”
Gibran Beydoun is a writer for The Express. Follow him @Gibran580MSCM