High school sports season returns in New Jersey with COVID safety protocols

Schools are back in session across New Jersey, and along with it brings the start of the new high school sports season.
It has been a long spring and summer, but official practices are starting up once again, with the regular season starting up in less than two weeks.
“You can just see it on the kids’ faces. They light up just to be back at school, be back at sports, be back to normal,” says Wall High School athletic director Tom Ridoux. “Just to be back to normal for the time being and hopefully throughout the entire school year.”
At Wall High School, student-athletes must complete daily health questionnaires and undergo temperature checks. Coaches, administrators and trainers must wear masks.
“We’re going to try to do it the right way and we’re going to try to keep this going as long as possible,” Ridoux says. “The reason we are is because of them, because this is such a big part of their lives, sports. They train all year for it. It’s where their friend-base is and we just want to keep the sports going as long as possible and do everything the right way.”
There are similar procedures at Shore Regional High School, whether students are taking in-person or virtual classes.
“If you are virtual, you can’t go in the school. You have to get your temperature checked in the gym and everything” says Shore Regional senior Tara Mendillo. “If you’re in school, you have to get your temperature checked in the gym.”
The seniors on the Shore Regional girls soccer team say that they are grateful that they are able to have a fall season. But they say that they know that they can’t let their guard down.
“Being here as a senior, all these girls are looking up to us. We have to be safe. We have to show everyone the protocols to follow,” says senior Cassie DeSantis.
Regular season competition begins Sept. 28 for girls tennis, Oct. 2 for football and Oct. 1 for all other sports.