In a year that will hold many more virtual campus visits and Zoom team meetings than practices and games, head football coach Tony Jennison was thrilled to finally see his 18 first-year football players in person at move-in. “It was awesome,” Jennison says. “Everyone was masked up and we were doing things very differently compared to other years, but it was so rewarding to see people on campus, to meet students and their families after so many Zoom meetings.”

Macalester’s academic year started with a two-week quiet period, but later in the fall, athletic teams were allowed to start non-contact practices, with student-athletes training in small groups, wearing face coverings, and practicing physical distancing. Teams and coaches will focus on strength and conditioning, team values, and leadership skills, with plans to return to competition in 2021.

In the meantime, Jennison and his staff will foster community through video calls and lots of text check-ins. “We want to build the connections that make Mac our students’ second home,” he says. “There’s really no roadmap in a pandemic. We’re just trying to navigate it intelligently and safely, with lots of reminders for players to get out of their rooms, get fresh air, wear their masks, and be safe.”

October 21 2020

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