Locker Rooms Remain Closed Due to COVID-19


Emma Haag

Due to Covid-19 safety guidelines, Portola locker rooms remain closed until case numbers fall. The closure has caused concerns for some students, while others do not mind.

As Irvine Unified School District waits for updates from CIF and California regarding pandemic safety, locker rooms will remain closed until sport seasons begin in 2021. These spaces are the perfect area for COVID-19 to thrive: clustered spaces filled with shower steam and sweat. 

“I would assume, once we get the okay to begin our seasons, we would also be able to slowly work teams back into locker rooms under some modified guidelines,” athletics director Peter Abe said. “We are awaiting further guidance from the state and district with regards to the beginning of athletic seasons and what that might look like with on-campus facilities.”

Some students are unhappy with the fact that the locker rooms are closed, not only to put their clothes and equipment in, but also for changing before practice.

“Not having a locker room makes me uncomfortable in so many ways, because not only do I have to show up with my speedo under my pants already, but I can’t even take it off when we are done,” water polo player and junior Walid Hardan said. “I leave the pool and get in my car still dripping wet.”

Other students like senior and volleyball player Sepand Bastani are less concerned about the change.

“Personally, I don’t really mind too much about what has happened with the locker rooms being closed since I have my car and I keep everything there,” Bastani said. Also, I have lunch time to change in my car whenever I need to for practice specifically, and I believe that this is a more efficient way rather than going to the locker room. Even pre-covid, I still had done this.”

Practices include students from both cohorts, and athletics are currently trying to figure out new spacing restrictions limiting the people on the field or indoor. After the change, a significant challenge will be supervision in the locker rooms to maintain a safe and healthy environment in order to limit contact between athletes during the pandemic. 

“We’re all in this together, and while we all know it can be frustrating at times, we need to continue to showcase our Bulldog perseverance and grit,” Abe said.