As we prepare for another semester, the NEIU community acknowledges that there are great risks associated with coming to the different campuses to take classes in person. We are still fighting a pandemic that looked defeated less than three weeks ago but is resurging for a variety of reasons all over the country.
This situation pressed NEIU’s COVID-19 Task Force to propose an updated Return to Campus Plan that establishes comprehensive COVID-19 mitigating measures, but it fails to address how the school will protect its students who want to engage in intramural sports activities.
A May 28 email from the Task Force to the NEIU community only mentioned that “more information is to follow” regarding what spaces will be open for students in the coming months and that the Campus Recreation team was working on it.
In July, the Campus Recreation team issued two emails offering openings for job positions in various areas that included game officers, trainers and referees. Less than a week before the beginning of classes, we do not know anything else about intramural sports or the COVID-19 rules that we will need to follow on the field or court.
Among the actions taken to promote sports activities, Campus Recreation wrote a Facebook post in January where they identified some COVID-19 policies that they were following inside the gym like contact tracing. They also opened the courts this summer to play racquetball and basketball.
But, who is to say if these vague rules are the same that govern the events at school, as per the updated Return to Campus Plan, or if Campus Recreation created a different set of rules that would keep everyone safe while doing sport activities.
Other educational and sport-related institutions have already presented their plans for in-person sport leagues. For example, the NCAA has a page where it updates COVID policies for all the athletes participating in its competitions.
Likewise, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is constantly updating its rules to protect high school athletes and their families from the disease.
Furthermore, students participating in any kind of tournaments at other public education institutions in Chicago, like UIC, are updated regularly of the institution’s COVID-19 policies for sport activities through platforms like IMLeagues.
As a testimony to the disruptions originated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the last sport piece written in The Independent about intramural sports was signed in November 2019 by Jose Moreno and featured the attempts by a senior student to revitalize the school’s soccer club.
We expect from school leadership to come back to NEIU with a revitalized intramural sports calendar and with clear policies, like other institutions are doing, so students can engage safely in sport activities.