Jessie Cheung, Contributing Photographer
After just over a week and a half spent on pause in Phase 0 of the Ivy League’s tiered plan for resuming athletic training, Yale Athletics is set to reenter Phase I on Monday, Associate Athletic Director for Strategic Communications Mike Gambardella confirmed with the News.
Two weeks ago, the department reverted from Phase II to Phase 0 after a six-person COVID-19 cluster emerged on the Yale men’s hockey team. 48 hours later, Yale announced that 12 additional team members had tested positive, causing the University to raise its alert level to yellow, close several athletic facilities for cleaning and put in-person varsity training — along with intramural competitions — on pause.
Student-Athlete Advisory Committee president and women’s crew member Hannah Johns ’22 said she was excited about returning to limited training under Phase I.
“I have a pretty small team,” Johns said. “We’re about nine people enrolled and on campus, so I’m not worried. We are safe, we social distance, we wear masks and we’re 15 feet apart [when we train]. I’m excited to get back to Payne Whitney Gym. I love it there — I love the tanks and I love my team, so I’m excited to get back with them.”
Under Phase I, guidelines allow teams to meet for one hour of training each day. Phase I permits in-person weight training and conditioning sessions in socially-distanced groups of 10 or fewer student-athletes.
The COVID-19 cluster two weeks ago also sparked the temporary closure of athletic facilities, including Payne Whitney Gymnasium and Ingalls Rink. According to a special alert from the University’s COVID-19 Coordinator Stephanie Spangler issued on Oct. 15, these closures were originally supposed to last until Monday, Oct. 19 — but last Thursday the Payne Whitney Gymnasium’s website contained an announcement that the gym was to remain closed until Monday, Oct. 25th. The announcement also warned that reservations could be canceled by Payne Whitney Gymnasium staff should the facility close for additional days.
While there has been no official announcement regarding the reopening of Ingalls Rink, the Bond Sports website that allows students and Yale faculty members to reserve skating times shows a canceled open skate event that was to be held on Tuesday, Oct. 27. On the other hand, the same reservation service shows availability for Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center starting on Monday. The Yale Golf Course remained open throughout the past two weeks.
When the COVID-19 cluster first emerged two weeks ago, Director of Track and Field and Cross Country David Shoehalter explained that Yale would need to transition again through Phase I before returning to Phase II. In an email to his program obtained by the News, he added that the time period between Yale’s return to Phase I and re-promotion to Phase II would probably be less than the original 16 days it took for the University to progress through these stages.
Other student-athletes reached by the News declined to comment on the upgrade to Phase I.
Yale first started Phase I back on Sept. 21 and originally progressed to Phase II on Oct. 7 before reverting to Phase 0 on Oct. 13.
Eugenio Garza García | eugenio.garzagarcía@yale.edu