Coronavirus 1 – DHS 0: All sports and activities cancelled or delayed


COVID-19 has put everything on hold at DHS.

The growing concern over the outbreak of COVID-19 has led to drastic measures being taken across school systems in every corner of the country. Recently, schools have scheduled shutdowns ranging from weeks to months. There has been much discussion and some decisions made regarding what this will mean academically for students, but little conversation has been had about the effect that cancellations and postponements will have on high school athletes and members of after school programs. 

  As of March 16, the MIAA (Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association) will postpone spring sports until Monday, April 27. This will have a serious impact not only on coaches but also on student athletes who have been looking forward and training for these sports since last year. Sophomore Nicole Sylvian, who competes in Spring track said, “It’s honestly annoying because I was training for track for a while now.” 

Many students have similar sentiments.  Sophomore Zack Sylvia said, “People were looking forward to the spring season, so now people have less to expect of what their season will bring to them.” Most sports require daily practice to properly train for their respective games, meets, and competitions. Not meeting regularly, it’s safe to assume most athletes and teams will be unable to reach their full potential in the season.

 However, not everyone sees this temporary change as a long-lasting dilemma. Alex Walecka, the Boys Spring Track coach and DHS alumnus said, “I don’t feel there will be too much of an impact long term. Every track and field team has imposed the same limitations in regards to postponing the start of the season. This will result in all teams competing on an even playing field.”

 Girls Spring Track Coach Caitlin McCarron-Deely agreed. “Although it will be inconvenient, it’s not like the entire season is ruined,” she said.  

Other coaches have taken a more sympathetic route about the issue, such as Girls Tennis Coach Steve Charest who said, “They’re gonna miss out on the social interaction and the family that they won’t be able to build. They will just be practicing on their own and miss out on being on a team.”  

Other coaches agreed on the social aspect of the sports, like Boys Baseball Coach Mike Frates who said, “There are so many life lessons that are learned during a season that are so valuable.”

Unified Track Coach John Breault said, “Unified Track isn’t as much about athletics as it is growing and spreading inclusivity and acceptance, but nonetheless it impacts our team’s ability to access fitness, socialization, and inclusive practices.” 

With spring sports being postponed so late, or not being held at all, the joy of socialization that is naturally a part of athletic life will be severely hampered. Many athletes were looking forward to the spring season. Not only do they want to improve their performance and reach their personal goals, they also look forward to bonding with the friends they may never see during the school day. Without practice and contact with others, some athletes may lose the drive for their future seasons to come. 

As for after school activities, there has been a cancelation of all activities until further notice. The recent cancellation has had a serious effect on students who had been practicing and competing all year.  Dartmouth High Theatre Company has been rehearsing for their production of We Will Rock You since returning this past January. The cancellation of rehearsals has made many performers feel disappointed.  Junior Miguel Pereira, who plays the lead Galileo in the show said, “The entire cast has put in so many hours and weeks of work towards this show and its being postponed was really sad to hear.” 

The cancellation of both the Percussion and Color Guard in the WGI World Championships will also have a negative impact on students in the indoor program who have had to cancel the rest of their season. Senior Ben Michaud said, “Many of the students in the indoor programs become accustomed to going to practice every day. Taking this away causes many of them to lose much of the motivation that gets them through the day.” 

Sophomore Jack Kertscher, who is in the Robotics Club said, “The cancellation has prevented me from organizing various outreach events with my club, as well as preventing us from doing other activities and organizing for next year. Thankfully, it has not interfered with our competitive season because it finished a week before the cancellations.” 

Perhaps the group of students impacted most by the delays and cancellations is the Senior Class of 2020. Many seniors this year have had to deal with numerous changes to their schedules, both inside and out of school, now only to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak. 

At the beginning of the school year, students in sports and afterschool programs had to deal with EEE in the surrounding areas. The EEE threat caused many practices to start or end earlier, along with Friday night football games which were moved to the afternoon or mornings.

The seniors have had to deal with another schedule change this year, and their end of the year senior events are now in jeopardy. Due to COVID-19, seniors will likely not be able to experience the same events and create memories like all other graduating classes before them. As senior Jimel Suarez said, “I know myself and the other students in the senior class are worried that the virus will impact and change the outcome for the rest of our senior year. We’re not even sure if we still get to walk at graduation.” This can be extremely upsetting for many of the students who have looked forward to prom, their senior trip, and graduation all year. 

Although school and all after school programs have been canceled, the decision was absolutely mandatory for public health and safety. As sophomore Mia Carter, who competes in spring track said, “This is to help us, not make us unhappy or hurt us, and people would be complaining either way. It’s a lose-lose situation and we are just taking the safest route.”