With the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, fans return to the Maple Leaf stands. However, the pandemic continues to affect sporting events and their participants.
Dr. Erica Albertin, director of the athletics department, shares her insights.
“We are allowing more fans [to watch the games] than we did last year, especially inside,” Albertin says.
Tickets are once again being sold, as opposed to using the fan pass system from last year. Masks are still required indoors, but there are virtually no COVID restrictions outdoors this year.
The increase in mental health resources on campus is another plus for the athletic department.
“[We’re] making sure that coaches know that we have counseling services,” Albertin says. This gives athletes a direct connection to these services as needed.
Navigating the pandemic’s unknowns has not been easy.
“The biggest challenge from COVID is that a lot of the time in the athletic world, we like to have clear-cut answers… we have to be ready to make readjustments as we go,” Albertin says.
But Albertin is optimistic.
“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve had virtual meetings with others in the athletic world, and that has been one of the benefits of this situation,” she says.
Fans back in the stands? A more connected athletics world? More victories for the Maple Leafs.