With practices for SCVAL Season 1 sports starting this week, the athletic directors at Los Altos and Mountain View high schools are urging area residents to refrain from using their facilities while students are training.
Los Altos High athletic director Michelle Noeth said last week that she appreciates the community’s support of the school, but the public’s presence on campus as sports return “is going to create a tricky environment” with COVID-19 safety guidelines in place.
Noeth noted that a large number of community members have been using her school’s turf and grass fields – despite signs stating they are closed – along with the track and tennis courts. She said the grass field “has become a dog park galore,” with more than 30 off-leash dogs running around the last time she was there.
“Our current cohorts are struggling to ensure a safe environment due to some of the community feeling it is now their territory to work out or walk their dogs,” Noeth said. “For example, our cross-country team was trying to do a conditioning workout on the grass field while the public, without masks, are letting their dogs run free. It’s hard for one coach to try and ask 40ish people to leave. Not gonna happen.”
Not only that, but parents are allowing their children to ride their scooters on the track and in the campus courtyards, she added.
Mountain View High athletic director Shelley Smith said “we are having the same issues” as Los Altos.
And it’s not just community members invading the Spartans’ space.
Because the district does not want to lock up the fields – unlike many schools in the area – Smith said he’s caught teams from nearby high schools and community colleges holding informal workouts at Mountain View. He’s also had to ask club teams using the fields without permission to leave.
And when the groups take off, their trash is often left behind. Smith said he routinely finds water bottles and the like scattered around the athletic facilities.