DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Two different athletic teams had their first practice back at Riverside High School in Durham Friday.
Durham Public Schools are not back in session for in-person learning just yet, however the Riverside High volleyball and cross country teams held their first practice on campus since March on Friday.
“I am amino suppressed, so it’s an extra worry for me. But just being able to be out here and have fun is something that we all need right now,” said Ben Patton, a Riverside High School senior.
The school board voted to bring sports back in phases to see what works and what doesn’t. The student athletes have mandatory health screenings and temperature checks before each practice.
The student athletes have to wear a mask at all times and work out in small socially distanced groups made up of five to 10 athletes each.
The decision comes as the Wake County Public School System is already battling several COVID-19 cases including three within athletics departments just a week after returning to in-person learning.
However, Riverside High staffers day they’re confident in their plan.
“We have taken steps. Going two days a week for practice instead of five. Smaller pod numbers than what is allowed and finding ways to space it out throughout campus. We’re here because we want them to be safe and we would not jeopardize them,” said Shaun Thompson, Riverside High School Cross Country head coach.
The students say above all else they’re just happy to be a part of a team once more.
“It wouldn’t be great to have a whole senior year just through a computer screen, so if we’re able to do it safely I think it would be really good,” said Emily Jackson, a senior at Riverside High.
District leaders say if this trial run goes well other sports like basketball, cheerleading and even baseball may soon return as well.
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