SARATOGA - It is common for West Valley athletics to set the example for excellence in competition, in the classroom and in the community. It is, therefore, not surprising to see Viking athletics be the standard bearer for COVID testing, social distancing and the strict adherence to state, county and self-imposed safety guidelines.
Since WVC classes resumed in late January, Viking student-athletes have adopted a "test negative, stay positive" lifestyle and attitude. The phrase, coined by Viking tennis coach Lauren Hickey, is a constant guide for the hundreds of athletes, coaches and staff members in the preparation for a scheduled return to competition. West Valley is requiring everyone involved in athletics to participate in weekly testing, daily temperature checks, physical distancing and mask wearing. The college established a "WVC Go" app where athletes and staff members log in and have their daily COVID "stats" recorded and tracked.
Teams are limited to conditioning and socially distanced drills in outdoor classroom settings and are grouped into protocol-required pods that never interact. Even with these limitations, athletes and coaches are positive, enthusiastic and joyful to be back doing what they love. True team practices, still following all CCCAA, state and Santa Clara County guidelines, are slated to begin in the weeks ahead, with competition to follow soon afterward. Once these practices start, testing will ramp up to three times a week. WVC is working with Virus Geeks to administer and process the tests, which usually take 24-48 hours for results.
Testing takes place in a large dance studio/classroom. After temperatures are checked, athletes enter one at a time through one door and, after showing a picture ID, self-administer their test. They then exit through a door on the opposite side of the building. This is the daily routine for all West Valley student-athletes and staff. Everyone is adapting and helping to raise the bar for this "new normal".
"Test negative, stay positive" is the vibe on campus and is the model for ensuring the safety of everyone in Viking athletics.
(Matt Folsom, West Valley College Athletics)