Williams College became the second school in the NESCAC to announce its teams would not be competing in fall sports in the upcoming school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, making its plans public on Monday.
Bowdoin College made its announcement last week.
In a letter to the Williams community, president Maud S. Mandel said that teams will be able to practice outside in small groups if they adhere to social distancing guidelines, and may progress to more game-like practice activities if conditions improve. They will not be allowed to travel or compete.
“Our decision has been guided by the utmost attention to safety protocols to ensure the health and safety of our athletes, coaches, staff and community,” the letter says. “Decisions about winter and spring teams have not yet been made.”
The schools says it will use the NCAA’s three-phased guidelines for returning to sports activity.
In Phase I, workout/practice groups will be limited to 10 people (including coaches), social distancing will be adhered to, masks/face coverings will be worn when distancing cannot be maintained, equipment will not be shared among players, and training sessions will focus on individual skill work and conditioning.
In Phase II, workout/practice groups may increase in size, distancing will be adhered to, equipment may be shared among team members, and training sessions will include organized group activities. Masks/face coverings will be worn based upon current state and college guidelines when distancing cannot be maintained.
Phase III, (which the school notes it might not get to during the fall semester) allows for larger groups, shared use of equipment, organized group activities and competition.
The letter also says that the school has reduced the total cost of attendance by 15% “in recognition of the extraordinary circumstances of this academic year.”
Williams’ women’s swim and dive team finished fourth at the 2019 Division III NCAA Championships, and the men finished seventh. The school doesn’t have a water polo program.