Playing in a Pandemic

Sports recovering from COVID pause


Photo: Hannah Salemy

Sixth grader Olivia Frossmo runs the 1600m race at the West Seattle track meet.

Sports at UPrep have changed significantly over the course of the past two years. In a pandemic, and in quarantine, it’s difficult to stay active, especially without school sports. UPrep, however, created a program that helped students stay active during the pandemic: sports pods.
“Even though we were in the middle of our pandemic, the kids were still able to participate in [the sports pods] and have some interaction,” PE teacher David Crabb said.
Students as well think that sports pods were a good way to have fun while staying active during COVID, while also staying safe.
“I liked that they were doing something to keep us moving, and I thought it was fun and pretty low key, it wasn’t super intense,” eighth grader Sonya Carter said.
Becca Johnson, or HoJo, is a PE teacher, Health teacher, and sports coach at UPrep. Both HoJo and Crabb agree that sports pods were beneficial to students over the course of quarantine.
“[They were] a good solution to an annoying problem,” HoJo said. Crabb agrees that sports pods were a good substitute for sports that year, and is grateful that the sports program was willing to create and support them.
“I was really impressed by the participation of the kids and that the school was willing to do [the sports pods] and reached out, and it was very successful.”
This year, regular sports programs have started up again, along with a surprising amount of participation from students.
“I think kids are more excited to play. And I think there’s just a variety of kids that want to be involved,” HoJo said. “Whereas before the pandemic, kids just took being active for granted and being on a team for granted.”
Carter also has input on this new sports enthusiasm.
“I think that students are eager to spend time with their friends after being in quarantine,” Carter said. “Students may want to try new sports and do new things after not being able to do a lot.”
However, playing a sport requires time and commitment, especially toward the end of the year, when there are projects to finish and tests to study for.
“[We understand that] being a student comes first and being an athlete comes second, and it’s hard to try to do both,” HoJo said.
Even though sports are starting to return to normal, the school still has to take precautions in order to ensure that all students and staff remain safe.
“[The sports program] did a really nice job with following the CDC and King County rules, and sometimes it was a bit frustrating, but we understood that we were following those rules and guidelines to try to keep the kids safe,” Crabb said.
In any case, sports in the 2021-2022 school year have received more attention, participation, and enthusiasm than they have in the past few years.
“I think that students are trying to get that time in quarantine back,” Carter said.