After starting to prepare for the 2021 sports season, Trinidad State Junior College (TSJC) was forced to cancel scrimmages as COVID-19 cases arrived on campus.
“We’ve told kids multiple times, ‘The cases around you are going up. So, let’s not go get involved in that’,” said Trinidad State Athletic Director Michael Salbato.
TSJC made the move to virtual learning on Monday, Nov. 2 as COVID-19 cases rose on campus. A COVID-19 contact included a “family unit” within the athletics program.
The Trojans had been preparing for the 2021 sports schedule with scrimmages.
Yet without universal standards for safety and with other schools also wrestling with cases, scrimmages have been difficult to schedule, according to Salbato.
Meanwhile, collegiate athletics continues to take a back seat to safety as the pandemic steps back into the forefront of concerns.
“We have had a few scrimmages. Baseball had the most by far,” said Salbato.
Now those scrimmages have been cancelled as restrictions tighten and the college works to keep students on campus safe until they depart for winter break.
“We’re trying to be as careful as we can, trying to keep them on campus, isolate as best we can,” said Salbato.
TSJC is reevaluating their spring semester reintegration plan. They will move forward dismissing the student body on Thanksgiving to complete the 2020 fall semester virtually at home.
“Right now, the plan is to bring them all back on January 4,” said Salbato.
Trinidad State’s new spring plan will bring the entire student body onto campus over a two-day window and mandate a 2-week dormitory quarantine for all students arriving on campus. In-person learning will begin Jan. 18.
Earlier travel bans that were in place over the summer had serious impacts on some students’ ability to return to campus. With cases on the rise currently, Salbato is concerned that some international athletes may not be able to return home over the winter break.
The Trojan’s first basketball games are scheduled for Jan. 22, possibly giving the team only five-days of practice before the first game of the 2021 season.