Over the 2020 fall semester, Pacific athletes have been forced to adapt to new restrictions and rules within facilities due to COVID-19. The rest of the term is no different, as Pacific athletic facilities have officially been shut down for the remainder of the semester.
Friday, November 13, Athletic Director Keith Buckley sent an email out to all athletes and staff members saying, “Due to multiple new positive COVID-19 cases in athletics and on campus today, we are halting all athletic related activity on campus beginning immediately.” To some, this is not a surprise after Pacific moved all classes online because of the pandemic. While the school as well as athletic administration have done a good job of handling COVID cases up to this point, the pandemic has hit Washington County hard. Buckley said of the six new cases on campus, many of them belong to the athletic community.
“We do not make this decision lightly, but the surge in positive cases in Washington County has now arrived on campus,” said Buckley. The athletic director also added, “At the onset of this semester we committed to being conservative in our approach to a return to full activity and this decision places health and safety at the forefront.”
Monday, November 16, Buckley and the athletic administration held a town hall to give more information to student-athletes about the shutdown of facilities as well as how students will return to campus next semester.
“We are working towards a return in the spring,” said Buckley who added, “the season has not been cancelled.” While schedules have not been released, they have been set. Buckley mentioned there is a final meeting with Northwest Conference on the final scheduling of the season.
As for the return to campus in January, the athletic department has split teams into two groups. Group one includes: Basketball, Swimming, Soccer and Football. These teams will return January 3 or 4. The first available workout is January 5. Group two holds the rest of the sports. They will return January 10 or 11 and the first workouts will begin January 12. The athletic department is requesting athletes take a COVID test 72 hours before their return to campus. After this, they will also have a test done once they reach campus.
Buckley and the rest of the athletic department continue to ask for patience from the athletes and to remain flexible. COVID-19 has caused so many changes within the fall and that will continue into the spring. Buckley continued to say he is fighting for all 24 sports to play the entirety of their seasons in the spring, but only so much can be promised. — Joey Balleweg