by Bernie Noe, head of school, and Chris Hartley, director of athletics
The following message was sent via email to the Lakeside community on Jan. 27, 2021, from Head of School Bernie Noe and Director of Athletics Chris Hartley.
On Jan. 14, Director of Athletics Chris Hartley sent a Lakeside Athletics update to the community announcing the school’s stance on participation in interscholastic athletics: We had made the decision that while practices would be allowed, teams would not be able compete against teams from other schools.
After receiving several emails from student-athletes, parents, and guardians, the school leadership team met and discussed the merits of the original decision. Upon careful reflection, we have changed our decision. Lakeside Athletics teams will be able to practice with all student-athletes (grades 9-12) each day and will be able to compete against other school teams. This assumes that state, region, and Metro League metrics allow for these activities.
Our original decision was made with the priorities of ensuring the health and safety of our community and keeping students coming to campus for in-person learning. Those remain our highest priorities.
The change in our decision is based on one major factor. We reviewed the process that was used to eliminate the “Lakeside Bubble” this fall. Dissolving the bubble signaled to the community that we were willing to accept the risk of many of our students being active members of club teams. We know that club teams consist of students in multiple grades from many different schools that do not test for COVID-19. Restricting Lakeside students from fully participating in interscholastic sports through Lakeside did not align with the previous decision to dissolve the bubble. As a reminder, students participating in club athletics can only participate in in-person learning if they remain in the state of Washington.
Our first practices will take place Monday, Feb. 22, which is the first day permitted by the Metro League. Lakeside’s athletics office and program heads continue to be hard at work preparing for what practices will look like during this pandemic. In the weeks ahead, please carefully read all communications and respond quickly when information is requested.
To be eligible for practice on Feb. 22, student-athletes may not leave the state during midwinter break (Feb. 15-19) and must get tested on Friday, Feb. 19. If a student-athlete travels out of state during the break, they will need to quarantine for seven days and test negative for COVID on Friday, Feb. 26 before they join practices the following week.
We are certainly excited for our students and eager to see them engaging in activities for which they have passion. And, as always, our top priorities are for their health and their continued participation with in-person classes. Continued participation in interscholastic athletics will only be possible if the community is not exposed to COVID-19 within our teams. Positive COVID-19 tests within teams will lead to the immediate quarantine of the team, and given the abbreviated length of the season, might mean that the team does not complete their season. Because our teams will now practice with students from all four grades, quarantining will impact more students. If there are positive tests and contact tracing shows the need to quarantine a significant portion of the community, then, in all likelihood, interscholastic competitions will no longer be possible.
This is an opportunity for all student-athletes to rise to the challenge of leading by example. The best way to ensure that sports practices and competitions can continue is for everyone to practice the best safety measures. Keep masks on. Stay at least six feet apart. Do not participate in large group gatherings. And limit travel and trips outside of the home whenever possible.
As a final thought, we would like to thank Youngjoo L. ’21 for crafting an incredibly persuasive, respectful letter that encouraged us to revisit our decision about interscholastic competition. He and other senior athletes embodied our collaboration and leadership competency by taking initiative, being team players, and providing meaningful feedback. Their work demonstrates exactly what we want to see in any student who attends Lakeside.
Follow Lakeside Athletics on Twitter at @LakesideLions.