BRIEF: Pierce Athletics temporarily affected by COVID-19

BRIEF: Pierce Athletics temporarily affected by COVID-19

UPDATE #2 on 7/20 at 4:32 p.m.

Interim President Aracely Aguiar said LA County Department of Public Health visited the campus.

“We were in compliance, however they made some recommendations to have bigger signage and to put in more fans. They wanted larger fans so it could give more air circulation,” Aguiar said. “It was mostly about increasing the airflow in the area.”

Aguiar added, “They came in and looked at our facilities and it wasn’t so much that we were doing anything wrong, we just needed to add a few things here and there.”

UPDATE #1 on 7/15 at 4:51 p.m.

Interim Athletic Director Susan Armenta in an email said they are working with the district administration overseeing Safety and Emergency Services and with the LA County Department of Public Health.

“The nature of basketball is inherently high-risk for exposure due to the close contact, contact with equipment, and indoor participation, but the college has implemented improved ventilation in the gym, improved signage with reminders for social distancing and hand sanitization – which will be applicable to the other sports – whether indoors or outdoors,” Armenta wrote.

Armenta added, “We’re now conducting weekly testing and continuing with our pre-screening protocols.  Lastly, there will be greater incentives for student-athletes to get vaccinated, with our own mobile vaccination clinic scheduled for athletics later this month.”

Four student athletes and three members of the Pierce College men’s basketball team have tested positive for COVID-19, prompting the temporary closure of the South Gym.

Head coach Charles White said they had to get everyone quarantined, and that the gym was closed to be disinfected.

“We had to pause and quarantine, but everyone is doing better now,” White said. “Our plans are to be back by July 20.”

White said that when one of his players tested positive for the virus, the whole team and staff got tested. He also said that some players lost their sense of taste and smell, but are doing fine now. 

White said that despite this outbreak, preparations are still going for when the season starts in November.

“We have three more weeks of summer school and then we’ll take a break,” White said. “On Aug. 30, we will resume and get ready. I’m not sure how many fans will be allowed to attend, but we will be happy to have crowds back.”

Former athletic director Bob Lofrano said the outbreak is unfortunate.

“Unfortunately, that’s the world we live in right now. Your best bet is to get vaccinated,” Lofrano said.