Fall Sports Join Cohorts to Complete the Season


Students intermix with other cohorts on the Scarsdale High School field.

After much deliberation, the Scarsdale Recreation Department decided to allow combined cohort sports, as long as students follow safety protocols, to preserve the fall sports season. COVID-19 has devastated millions of lives around the globe, causing the development of mental health problems and putting a damper on school traditions and rituals. Exercise has always been a coping mechanism for stress-ridden teens, which is one of the many reasons coaches and students pushed to preserve socially distant sports seasons through combined cohorts.

Team sports pose many benefits, from promoting safe interaction with classmates to increasing school spirit. “I decided to play [field hockey] because… we do not have that much time left [in] high school, so I wanted to make more memories,” explained Rehema Mwamburi, a junior at SHS. Mwamburi recognized the risk and importance of wearing masks, but she also recognized the importance of staying active during the pandemic. Similarly, Sydney Rothschild, another junior at SHS, chose to try out for tennis and became a member of the Varsity B tennis team at SHS. Rothschild advocated the importance of having “some form of social outing” with classmates, which will hopefully foster more school spirit and act as an outlet for COVID-related stress.

While team sports are currently ongoing, many mandated safety precautions will change the way students interact with competing schools and each other. Teammates have to stand six feet apart at all times, which has proven to be hard to enforce. “[Maintaining our distance] can be difficult, but it is something we all have to take time to do to ensure that we can get some part of our season in,” said Rothschild. Surprisingly, not only are students required to stay apart, but sports equipment is also to be separated. “If you are playing Mamaroneck, when [their] ball comes to your court, you cannot pick it up,” explained Jennifer Roane, who coaches Scarsdale’s award-winning Girl’s Varsity A Tennis Team. Although she admits that the rule “puts a strain on the game,” and spreading the virus through objects is unlikely, “no one wants to take any chances.”

Opponents of combining cohorts for sports are worried about the increased contact among teammates, but activities outside of school have proved to be far more dangerous. Some Scarsdale students have been confirmed positive for COVID, but most of them arose from the PSAT or other activities unrelated to school. While all students have been wearing masks while playing school sports, while recreational and club sports have much looser regulations. “To have a season, you have to mix the cohorts,” said Coach Roane. Regarding the safety precautions, “I know we did the best that we could,” she concluded.