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Podcast: Navigating Athletics During a Pandemic

In episode 3 of the Academically Speaking podcast, Laura Perillo — Oak Knoll’s Marketing Content Strategist — sat down with Athletic Director Dr. Kelly Childs to speak about navigating athletics during a pandemic and how the school is preparing for athletes to return to the playing field safely this fall.

Listen to this podcast here.

Laura Perillo: [00:00:00] Hello, everybody! And welcome to episode 3 of Oak Knoll’s new podcast, Academically Speaking. It’s a pleasure to be here as your host. Our guest today is Oak Knoll School’s Athletic Director, Dr. Kelly Childs. Today, we will be talking about how the current COVID-19 pandemic has impacted sports at Oak Knoll. Welcome, Kelly! Thanks for joining us.

Dr. Kelly Childs: [00:00:28] Thank you for having me.

Laura Perillo: [00:00:29] So this past spring sports season was certainly impacted by the pandemic and had to slowly shut down after March break. During this time, what went through your mind as you navigated teams that had already begun to practice? Also, what were the school’s priorities for student athletes when it became clear that the season was not going to happen?

Dr. Kelly Childs: [00:00:53] Well, first off, I think we reacted the same as everyone else in our country where we just had never experienced this before. So we, you know, when we were told that we had to shut down and campus was closed and athletics were stopped, we sort of quickly mobilized with interactive, engaging ways to stay connected to our student athletes and our coaches through Zoom meetings, through lunchtime chats, through emails, and just making sure that they knew that we were accessible to them.

We didn’t know how long it was going to last. I think we thought when the spring shutdown first happened, that there was a chance we would be able to salvage some portion of that spring sports season. So we were still planning for that. I think for a long time, the state organization, the NJSIAA let us to believe that there might be an opportunity to play closer to June and kind of push our schedule a little bit further.

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