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Thriving In The New Normal
Full School Reopening From 29 June 2020
Since 29 June 2020, student-athletes from all secondary and International Baccaluareate levels have been attending school on a daily basis. Prior to that, student-athletes have been coming back to school progressively since the end of circuit breaker on 1 June 2020, while the rest continued with home-based learning and training.
All sport training, which is part of the school’s core curriculum, has also resumed physically in school. To ensure the smooth and safe transition back to training sessions, sport academies have carefully planned training sessions to ensure the physical and mental well-being of student-athletes, and have enforced several safe management measures.
“The return to training was slow and measured to ensure all student-athletes made the transition back to training safely and injury-free. We worked with the National Youth Sports Institute to run a series of fitness tests to assess the fitness of each individual before we designed a coaching plan for them. The student-athletes did surprisingly well in the fitness test which showed just how hard they had trained during home-based training and we managed to start our training at a slightly higher level than we thought,” shared Head Coach of the Netball Academy Lindsay Ruth McDonald Filiata.
Besides taking care of student-athletes’ physical well-being, sports academies have also been innovative in maximising space and resources while complying with safe distancing measures.
Unlike before, training sessions are now conducted by academic levels to ensure there is no cross-mingling of student-athletes across different levels. Student-athletes in each academic level are further divided into smaller groups to keep the coach-student ratio very small. To accommodate training sessions for different academic levels, training sessions start to commence immediately after academic lessons end. While the duration of training sessions has reduced, the intensity has been maintained given the small size of each training group. Also, coaches have planned masking on and off as part of their training routine. For sports such as bowling, which are less strenuous, student-athletes will wear their mask during training.
Changes have also been made in the Fitness Centre and Mini Gym to ensure safe distancing. They are partitioned into micro-zones which are spaced four metres apart, giving sufficient space for most strength and conditioning activities. Student-athletes will have their equipment placed within their respective zones so they do not venture beyond their micro-zone.
At all sport facilities including the Fitness Centre and the Mini Gym, temperature is taken before student-athletes step into the facility. A wipe-down routine has also been implemented before and after sport training.
Though the measures may seem inconvenient as it has impacted their sport training, student-athletes understand that is necessary to keep training safe. Secondary 3 bowler Taneisha Kaur Teo Ee Lin shared, “Safe distancing measures do make training harder. I have to constantly remind myself to follow the measures such as stand or sit at the designated areas for myself during training in between shots or having to wear my mask at all times. Also, though communication has not changed with coaches even while staying two meters apart, the challenge with bowling is that coaches are not able to physically correct our body position. However, I know these measures are needed, and I am assured that the school takes our safety very seriously.” At the Bowling Centre, every two lanes will be kept free for every lane that is used to ensure that student-athletes are well-spaced out.
Despite the measures, student-athletes are glad to back in action again. Swimmer Trina Ling Sze Yi shared, “Being out of the pool for such a long time has impacted me greatly. The coaches have spent more time on the foundations and going back to basics like technical work and stretches. I am thankful that the coaches are patient and supportive to us during training.”
Safe management measures have also continued in other parts of the school, such as classrooms and The Arena, since school reopened on 2 June 2020. The use of technology such as thermal scanners at the school foyer and The Arena, as well as the Safe Entry application, has enhanced our defence against Covid-19.
“The new normal has definitely impacted me. From getting used to wearing a mask to staying a safe distance away from my teachers and friends, it can become uncomfortable and frustrating at times. However, I am still very happy to be back in school as I get to attend classes and training with my friends again,” shared bowler Ashley Victoria Lok.
The new normal did not bring much inconvenience for Ashley who stays at boarding. However, Track and Field student-athlete Nikita Mae Jing-Yu Meyers, who does not get to board, takes one-and-a-half hours to travel to school by public transport daily.
“It took me some time to get used to waking up early, but after the first couple of days, it became a norm. I am personally okay with it as I have been taking public transport since young. I used to spend my time on the bus and train to read. Having to spend more time travelling these days, I managed to pick up reading again, a hobby which I lost as I could not find time to do it,” shared Nikita.
Netballer Wilone Wong Khee Fhee said, “I am very happy and grateful to be training with my teammates again. It took me some time to adapt, especially to the safe distancing rule and having to wear a mask the whole day as it was quite hard to breathe with the mask in hot weather.”