The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Athletics department pushes for on-site COVID-19 testing at SBCC


Associate Athletics Director Ellen O’Connor addressed a critical issue hamstringing City College’s return to athletic competition at the Associated Student Government meeting Friday morning.

O’Connor attributed it in part to lack of COVID-19 testing availability on campus. Most other colleges in the region provide testing sites on campus, and many have been able to compete in athletics.

“We don’t have testing on campus,” O’Connor said. “Right now, in Santa Barbara, we are the only institution of higher learning that was not engaged in any athletic competition.” City College has forgone competing in sports events for the past two semesters due to the pandemic. 

The college’s athletics department abides by rules set out by the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA), which requires student-athletes to be tested for COVID-19 according to the risk tier each sport is placed in.

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O’Connor also noted that regular testing can reduce transmission of the disease by over 90 percent.

In order to comply with protocols, O’Connor said some City College athletes are forced to find testing sites,—sometimes driving long distances to the sites where they then have to wait for results. It’s been difficult for students to comply, and in turn difficult to meet prerequisites for a return to play. 

“We’ve had to opt out in order to meet just the requirements for practice, let alone competition.” O’Connor said.

The athletics department has made requests to have testing on campus for student-athletes according to O’Connor, but these requests are currently still awaiting approval. 

“The impact has not been good,” she said. “I think our students are frustrated.” 

Some students have told her they see their teammates leaving to other schools, she said, and it seems as if City College is watching from the sidelines. 

“I have real concerns about how students feel about the campus,” she said. “So that’s really why I’m here.” 

The lack of information from the college about plans for the fall, she said, contributes to anxiety for students. 

“I had one student say to me ‘It seems like SBCC doesn’t care,’” O’Connor said. “That really hurt.” 

ASG President Carson Mitchell said when it comes to specific student services that will be available in the fall, information is limited. His own knowledge about next semester, he said, is vague. 

The student government has put out a survey to students addressing some of the concerns O’Connor brought up. Mitchell said getting out information about the upcoming school year could be something for ASG. 

Student Trustee Lilli McKinney said that students can come to the ASG’s town hall that they are hosting the week before finals, where it will address the survey results and have a discussion about student grievances. 

“I would really love to see the student government be actively involved in campus reopening plans,” O’Connor said.

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