Volleyball team served with first group quarantine

Players struggle to adapt to online instruction


Colin Boldin

Varsity players stand for the national anthem wearing their team masks. The masks were required any time players were off the court.

Pullquote Photo

I didn’t get to play knowing it was my last time playing in our gym.

— Shalom Stevens

As the first group of SHS students to quarantine due to a positive COVID case, the Varsity and JV volleyball teams were the guinea pigs for how teachers and students should handle this situation.  

In the middle of fourth period on October 13, the players were told via email that someone involved with the team had tested positive for COVID-19. 

Junior Mallory Rice was in shock when she heard the news. “I didn’t know how to tell my teacher because I wasn’t allowed on my phone,” she said. “It was very scary.” 

Many players were sent home and ordered by school officials and the health department into an eight day quarantine due to their exposure to Head Varsity Coach Julie Genovese. Two other SHS teachers, Polly Dierkens and Lisa Gorog, had to quarantine as well.

The quarantine period was October 13 – 22 which was close to the end of the first quarter. 

Some players were worried that staying home was going to affect their grades. 

Freshman Ella Kassan said she was very nervous about her grades and getting behind on all of her assignments as she worked remotely. With tests coming up, Kassan was unsure on how trying to learn the material online and prep for tests would affect her grades, specifically in her advanced classes.

“I was at a high ‘B’ and I was worried that my test would affect my grade because I would have to take it later than everyone else,” Kassan explained. “I didn’t know if that test would go into the next grading period.” 

On the other hand, freshman Danielle LaFlame said she was not worried about her grades too much. “I knew I could keep up, and if I needed help I knew the teachers would’ve helped me,” LaFlame said. 

Since this was the first group at SHS to be quarantined, the volleyball players felt like they had to suffer through the process as the district figured out how to handle it. 

Some teachers did not respond to messages during school hours and would not post assignments until after the school day had ended. This made it difficult for the players to keep up. 

Other teachers, though, made it easy for the players to get and understand what assignments they needed to do. 

Math teacher Ryan Spence, for example, posted instructional videos on google classroom to help the players learn Algebra II online.

Senior Shalom Stevens said getting school work was not difficult. She said her teachers simply just emailed her and told her what they would be doing. 

Sophomore outside hitter, Lacy Campbell wears her mask properly on the JV bench. Campbell was quarantined with her teammates Oct. 13 – 22 after varsity coach Julie Genovese tested positive for Covid-19. (photo by Kennedy Danna)

Kassan, however, said she had a hard time getting a hold of her teachers. Some were not responding to her emails and others were not posting assignments until the very end of the school day, she explained. 

“It just wastes a full day,” she said, adding that she believes it takes longer to do work online than during a normal school day. 

Some of the players obeyed the COVID-19 quarantine restrictions more than others. Stevens said she stayed in the safety of her home the entire eight days. Watching TV and movies kept her going and busy when she was not doing school work.

“I watched all the Marvel movies in order,” she said.

LaFlame, however, said she did not stay completely quarantined. After being sent home, she went in for a COVID test and quickly received negative results. Since she also had no symptoms, LaFlame went on with a somewhat normal life. 

The players’ mental health while in quarantine varied just as their activities did. 

Over those eight days, Kassan tried to keep in touch with her volleyball friends. “I wanted to make sure they were doing OK,” she said. 

Quarantine was different for Stevens, the lone senior on the team. She said she was really sad in the beginning, because she missed the last two games of her high school volleyball season. 

“I didn’t get to play knowing it was my last time playing in our gym.”  

She missed the Oct. 13 and 15 games against Cloverleaf and Coventry. Coventry was a fierce competitor, and Stevens would like to have had another round with them. 

As time went on in quarantine, though, she started feeling better. 

“I had to move on,” she said.

Even though they did not get to play their last two games, the Varsity players were still able to compete in the tournament, since it came after their quarantine. After getting a bye, they played Girard in the first sectional round Oct. 24. They lost after five sets. 

Some of the players’ feelings about COVID, social distancing and masks have become more serious. They now are taking more precautions, and think everyone else should do the same.

Rice said she feels people need to social distance more. 

“I wear my mask all the time, except for sports, because you could always be a carrier,” she said. Even though Rice may not be at high risk, someone else around her could be. She wants to make sure not only she is safe, but everyone else is, too.   

Laflame said before everyone was quarantined, she did not know anyone who was ever exposed or had COVID. Now, though, she is more aware of the risks and the impact it has on everyone.

Some people believe quarantine is just a 10-day break; that was not what all the players felt like, though.

Kassan said it was definitely not a break for her; she actually felt overwhelmed. 

“You still have to do work and the teachers will post assignments later in the day…It’s definitely not a vacation.” she said.