Clarke University has not given the answers to winter athletes that they want to hear at this point. Winter athletes want to know: Does Clarke intend to let them go home and see their families for Thanksgiving? Or do they want winter athletes to continue practicing and stay on campus for that time? At this point, Clarke’s athletic director does not have an answer to these questions.
Curt Long, athletic director at Clarke, discloses that this decision “it is a combined decision by a board” and they “determine which teams are still competing.” Long explains that this has been a difficult decision to make. He says Clarke wants to “keep the campus as safe as possible but at the same time let the students go home.” Long states, “We expected a second wave of COVID, expected summer to slow down the spread and there be an increase in the fall.” When asked about a timetable for this crucial decision regarding the Thanksgiving breaks of student athletes, Long did not have answer. Instead, he explained that there are some things he was implementing for the Winter break protocol. Long explains, “During the second week of January, there will be COVID testing and there will only be teams in season on campus at that time.”
I interviewed a few students at Clarke to see how they were reacting to the information. The first student explains that Thanksgiving is a big deal for he and his family. He claims, “I have a close relationship with my parents, and it would make me angry if I wasn’t able to see them. It doesn’t make sense how students can go home on a weekend to see their family but might not be able to go see them for Thanksgiving.” He also said that he doesn’t believe colleges should be open right now. “This is a weird situation and having a ton of people going to school makes things worse.”
The second student I interviewed disclosed that he thinks it would be the safest option if students were kept here on campus. He added, “Most students might not agree with me, but it’s the safest thing to do with the circumstances.” He mentioned that if he was told he would have to deal with it, but the news would upset him a little. He also said, “I’ve seen my family every year for Thanksgiving and it would be weird to spend a holiday without them.”
In addition, I asked a third student if he thinks he would lose a competitive edge by leaving for Thanksgiving and not being with his team. He claimed that there may be a slight drop off in skill. Still, he said his team could use at home workouts and keep the momentum of the season going.” If he would have to stay on campus instead of seeing his family at Thanksgiving, the student indicated that he would just stay on campus and make the most of it with his teammates. He added that his team could have a team Thanksgiving dinner together on campus.
As a result of there being no decision made by Clarke University, students have felt very uneasy. Students want answers but there are none at this time. It is hard to give your loved ones the answers when you don’t all have the answers yourself. We as students hope Clarke University can make a safe and helpful decision soon.