Careful Steps Toward On- and Off-Campus Athletic Competition
Dear Northwood Families: Last weekend, we began allowing families to visit boarding students on campus. Provided everyone follows the guidelines described here, we will continue allowing such visits this weekend. Also this weekend, we hope to slowly and carefully begin athletic competition against teams from other schools. Our boys’ hockey teams expect to travel to Connecticut to face off against a boarding school there, while our girls’ hockey team expects to travel to Massachusetts. The soccer teams hope to have matches soon. For the foreseeable future, all our competitions will be either day trips or home contests.
We are also meeting regularly to discuss upcoming travel involving our snowsport athletes. These discussions are time-sensitive and we hope to have more clarity for those affected soon. With this update, we will share with you the process we will use to choose athletic opponents while striving to maintain our high standards of health and safety.
With the health and safety of our community at the forefront of all competition considerations, we will make decisions based on the health and safety protocols of our opponents, the facilities at which we compete, and the transportation providers we hire. Before each home and away event is approved, the School’s medical directors will carefully review and endorse the protocols of every opponent, competition venue, and charter bus company hired by the school, including:
- We will seek opponents who have undergone similar efforts to ensure the virus does not spread to their campus community, including testing, cohorting, policies for masking and social distancing, limiting on-campus visitors, and restricting off-campus student travel.
- We will ensure that the athletic venues we use uphold clear standards for disinfecting spaces and reducing density as well as masking and social distancing policies for employees, users, and spectators.
- We will face opponents from regions with low virus prevalence.
- Charter buses will be used whenever practical to allow students to spread out while traveling. Charter bus companies that the School hires must abide by the highest standards for cleaning and disinfecting the vehicles and the drivers must wear masks, be screened daily, and be tested regularly.
- If coaching staff are not used as officials, we will use referees and other game officials who are screened for symptoms of the virus and have had received recent negative COVID-19 tests.
- We will order meals ahead of time and coaches will bring them onto the bus. No players will be permitted into restaurants.
- Student-athletes and coaches will use the restroom facility on the charter bus whenever possible.
- At all times, student-athletes, coaches, and team staff will practice diligent hygiene and handwashing and wear a mask when not in their cohort or competing.
We hope that sharing our decision-making process illustrates our continued commitment to the health and safety of our school community. Sincerely, John Spear Assistant Head for School Life Gino Riffle Athletic Director