Before COVID-19, every Cal Poly freshman was required to share a dorm room with another student. However, students this year lives alone in their respective rooms.
Almost every Cal Poly freshman student-athlete has been assigned their own dorm room in the yakʔitʸutʸu residence halls, according to freshman guard Camren Pierce from Men’s Basketball.
“This dorm is just all athletes, so we’re already on our own locked down in a way,” Pierce said. “They kind of have us not really wanting to do anything or go off campus in the first place.”
According to Pierce, every freshman player on their respective teams is staying in yakʔitʸutʸu, while every second year is staying in Poly Canyon Village. The rest live off-campus.
As part of cleaning and sanitizing the dorms, Pierce said that each bathroom in the building has a two or three-hour time slot in which they are cleaned by University Housing staff members everyday.
However, he said that students are responsible for sanitizing and cleaning their own rooms.
“I just keep it clean and then I disinfect, and you can’t really have a lot of people in your room in the first place,” Pierse said. “One way they keep your room clean is limiting the amount of people that are in here.”
Along with the daily cleaning, Pierce said that all the students in yakʔitʸutʸu get symptom and temperature checked every day.
Pierce said there is a possibility that the Men’s Basketball team will begin being regularly tested “a couple of times a week” for COVID-19 in response to the 2020-2021 Basketball season start-up.
Freshman Women’s Soccer goalkeeper Mary Norman is also living in yakʔitʸutʸu and said that staff members clean the communal areas daily as well. In efforts to prevent the possibility of contracting the virus, Norman said she is making sure to take the appropriate precautions.
“I think we’re all just being very cautious about [COVID-19] because we don’t want to mess anything up, so we’re very responsible in our dorms, we wear our masks everywhere and then when we get to practice we’re doing the same thing,” Norman said. “I think it’s just constantly in our head that we need to follow these rules until things get better.”
Norman said that as a student-athlete, there is a bigger responsibility when it comes to handling the virus compared to “normal students.”
“We’re told that we’re representatives of the school because we do get gear and other perks that normal students don’t have,” Norman said. “So we definitely are looked at under a certain microscope and I think in terms of [COVID-19], [sports] would be the first thing people would want to shut down, so we’re just being really careful.”
Norman said that Women’s Soccer is required to fill out a COVID-19 screening as well as get their temperatures taken before practice everyday. As a result, they each receive a wristband that labels them as “cleared for the day” to be able to access the training room.
Sophomore football defensive back Isaiah Jernagin said he also understands the importance of taking the necessary precautions that allow him to play the sport.
“I’m always trying not to touch doorknobs and trying to keep myself in the safest position possible so I can play football,” Jernagin said. “I don’t want to lose that opportunity.”
As a second-year student living in the Poly Canyon Village Apartments, Jernagin said he is trying to stay socially distanced from others in order to not “have the whole program shut down.”
“I think we’re all staying social distanced and away from everybody that has the virus,” Jernagin said. “We’re doing a pretty good job right now.”
As a result of not having a roommate and keeping a safe space from other students, Jernagin said that he feels “excitement” when he regroups with his teammates during training.
“It’s a different environment, it feels kind of normal when you go out there on the field rather than [in the dorm] where it feels a little isolated,” Jernagin said. “Going to the field every day is an excitement; we enjoy the opportunity and we’re grateful for the opportunity.”