Kascia Muscutt, a soccer player and Associated Student Body president at Peninsula College, gets a COVID vaccination shot from a Jamestown Health Clinic staffer. Photo courtesy of Peninsula College

Kascia Muscutt, a soccer player and Associated Student Body president at Peninsula College, gets a COVID vaccination shot from a Jamestown Health Clinic staffer. Photo courtesy of Peninsula College

College sports: Unvaccinated student-athletes at Peninsula College face testing, quarantining

Peninsula’s Pirates will need to either be vaccinated or pass a COVID test before hitting the pitch or hardwood this school year.

Student-athletes who have not been fully vaccinated will have a number of requirements in the coming school year, according to school officials, while according to current policies,vaccinated student athletes to participate in their sport without masks or social distancing, school officials noted in a Facebook post.

Rick Ross, Associate Dean of Athletics and Student Programs, said the school’s policy for student-athletes was developed with guidelines from the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges (NWAC), Peninsula College’s policies and Clallam County Health Department.

“We spent quite a bit of time figuring that part out — which could change next week,” Ross said Aug. 3.

Unvaccinated students will need to wear masks for travel, indoor training and when not playing in games, and non-vaccinated coaches and staff when they are indoors or not able to social distance outdoors.

Non-vaccinated athletes will have to pass a COVID test before playing in games.

“We do not yet know if those tests will be administered by the College or whether student athletes may have to go off-campus for that screening,” school officials noted in a Facebook post.

Non-vaccinated athletes who travel from out-of-state will need to quarantine seven days before participating in team activities, they said, and personal travel during the year also would require a quarantine.

That holds true this fall for some soccer players at Peninsula College, Ross said, who didn’t have access to vaccinations. They’ll quarantine before they can join their respective teams.

Unvaccinated athletes who are exposed to the virus will have to quarantine and miss practices and games, while vaccinated athletes will not, college officials said.

Ross said rules for student-athletes may not align with those for students; a fully-vaccinated team, for example, would have different health concerns and realities than an English class, he said.

Peninsula College was a kind of pilot program last year for vaccinations, he said.

“We were ahead of the curve a little bit in getting out athletes vaccinated,” Ross said. “Hopefully that translates to fewer games missed. (But) it’s definitely it’s moving target. We’ll take it week by week and do our best.”

The only issue PC’s athletic teams had with COVID, last school year, he said, was a brief issue with the women’s basketball team prior to the season.

As for vaccinations, Ross said there were only three out of 85 athletes this spring who chose not to be vaccinated.

“It’s a fairly small percentage,” he said. “We’ve had some that have chose not to, and some staff members. We respect that and try to work with everyone. Quite a few of them chose to get vaccinated, so they can take their mask off and play.”

In the college”s facebook post, they noted, “Peninsula College and the NWAC respect the choice of students and staff to make their own choice about vaccinations, but we also want to educate students and staff on the ramifications and be good partners with the State of Washington to help slow the spread of this virus and keep our community safe.”

For more about requirements for student-athletes, see nwacsports.org/SportsMedicine.

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