Servando Vargas/Courier A text and photo illustration modifying a file photo by Amber Lipsey on November 15, 2020. Football head coach Steven Mojarro commented about the resumed practice that was scheduled for January of 2021 with safety precautions due to the covid-19 pandemic.
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Pasadena City College is home to so many student-athletes that love playing and competing in the sport of their choice. Since most sports were canceled due to the dangers of the pandemic, students were prohibited to practice over the past semesters. However, The California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) has approved teams to resume their season in Jan. of 2021, by following the guidelines and rules they have released. 

The decision made by the CCCAA to move all the Fall sports, including football, to the Spring semester was published July 2020. But with the sudden rise in COVID-19 cases throughout California and specifically Los Angeles, PCC’s athletic department is still debating whether or not practice will be safe for their students and staff.  

“No matter how you look at it, you have to adapt to the situation,” said head football coach Steven Mojarro. “Obviously nobody thought that we would be in a pandemic. Our athletic department came together and created this manual and it’s an amazing work of collaboration by all the staff members at Pasadena.” 

Mojarro was very determined to keep his players and staff safe during this time. When he was asked about what is going to change, he explained the different ways he and the other coaches have worked to reconstruct their practices. 

“We were going to break up the team into different sections,” said Mojarro. “If one of those kids were to come out with a positive test then we can quarantine that whole section and still be able to play in the upcoming game. We have a lot of protocols. Our equipment manager is going to sterilize everything. There’s procedures on how they’re going to enter the locker room, how they’re going to enter the building.” 

The coach expressed how important the safety of his students was to him. Even with all final decisions still up in the air at this time, the coaches and staff are still trying to provide the best possible environment for their players. 

“We’re going to do everything possible to make sure everyone is safe, not just our players but our support staff.” Mojarro said. “We will definitely require masks in everything that we do, assistant coaches, everybody, there’s no excuse. If they don’t have a mask we’ll provide one for them.” 

Since starting practice again isn’t definite for PCC’s football team, coach Mojarro is uncertain about exactly what days they will be practicing. 

“[The team] wouldn’t be practicing longer than they need to, but enough to where they can play safely in a game,” said Mojarro. 

Mojarro made it clear that he and the team would be content with whatever decision the school makes about starting the season, and that they fully understand the dangers behind the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Whatever is recommended by our health department and our school,” said Mojarro. “We’re going to back it 100%. If we get to play, we’ll do everything possible to make sure everybody is safe and we’re following protocol. At the same time, we’re never going to cut corners. If we don’t play, we don’t play.” 

It is clear that all the staff at PCC is working nonstop to ensure the safety of all the students while trying to provide the best education possible. It’s difficult to predict the future during something as tragic as the COVID-19 pandemic has been. As much as student athletes want to get back in the game and on the field, it’s clear that they understand and respect the pandemic. 

The coaches of all sports teams at PCC have been compassionate and supportive of their players while remote learning has been in place. Mojarro brought up how some of his students have been dealing with these changes over the past couple of months and how the lack of competition has been affecting them. 

“Our kids have adapted really well to the online classes,” said Mojarro. “I think our counseling center at PCC has done a great job, not just helping the students out with academics but also mentally. That’s our main goal, to make sure we’re here to support our kids and get them the best education possible.” 

While nothing has been finalized just yet, coaches are prepared for the tough season if it is approved. They understand that their student-athletes are anxious to play again, but are still encouraging them to focus on school, even when practice does start again. 

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