28 Oct Two women’s soccer players removed from team for violating COVID-19 policy
Two members of the women’s soccer team were removed from the team for violating COVID-19 protocols in early September, and both now face disciplinary action from the college.
The team members, starting goalkeeper Megan Rose, a team captain, and Margarita Ivanova, a forward, were removed from the team after both defied the terms of their college mandated isolation. (Ivanova currently serves as The Beacon’s assistant living arts editor).
Rose left isolation after returning a positive COVID-19 test, while Ivanova, who was considered unvaccinated at the time, left a college mandated quarantine for unvaccinated players on the team who were exposed to Rose.
“I almost feel as though I was set out to be made an example of,” Rose said. “I really just think the administration handled this incredibly poorly.”
Athletic Director Patricia Nicol said she could not comment on individual student athletes. Head coach David Suvak declined to comment. Players on the team said they were “advised not to discuss [the situation].” Ivanova declined an interview request.
On Sept. 8, the team was set to square off against Tufts University, but the game was postponed after Rose tested positive for COVID-19 two days before the game was set to be played. The college’s COVID-19 protocols mandate that players on each team are to get tested before each game.
At the time of the positive test, Rose had received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, meaning she had to isolate for 10 days following the positive test result. Rose said she was shocked that the test came back positive.
“This didn’t really make a lot of sense to me,” Rose said. “Not only was I asymptomatic, but also nobody else had tested positive. I’m around those girls every day. Those are the people I hang out with.”
The confusion led Rose to leave her off-campus apartment during her isolation, which Emerson strictly prohibits, to take two rapid tests that both came back negative. Rose contacted the college about these tests while also completing another PCR test.
None of the tests Rose took were administered by the college. When Rose asked to get tested through the college, their stance was a firm no.
“I was in contact with Tufts and administration about trying to get them to let me take the test and they were very strict about not allowing that to happen,” she said.
When another PCR test came back negative, Rose believed she had gathered enough evidence to show she could be released from isolation and was not infected with the virus. As a result, she contacted the team’s athletic trainer.
“After that test came back obviously I was excited,” she said. “I called my coach, and he was like, ‘That’s great, go ahead and call the athletic trainer.’ I called the athletic trainer and there was a lot of concern revolving around how I left my isolation.”
“[Instructions] were made pretty clear,” Rose continued. “I was contacted by Tufts nursing the day I tested positive and [they] told me I needed to isolate for 10 days.”
Rose said she violated the terms of her isolation knowingly.
“Obviously I understood I was supposed to isolate,” she said. “When I left this isolation, I was very cautious about how I was presenting myself outside and in public.”
The college then held a hearing to determine discipline for Rose violating the terms of her isolation. Rose’s punishment was handed down three days later—she was not to participate in any extracurricular activities or allowed to use any Emerson facilities such as the fitness center.
Rose is also barred from campus, unless she is attending a class. Rose appealed the punishments, but was denied.
She said she doesn’t have bad relationships with players on the team, but does have a conflict with head coach David Suvak. When going through the appeal process, Rose asked Suvak to write a letter on her behalf but the coach declined.
“When I heard that there was an appeal process, I had asked my coach to write a letter on my behalf and he said no,” she said. “That was very telling and it almost made the process a little bit easier because I’m not gonna play for a coach if he’s not gonna fight for me.”
Rose had a long tenure with the women’s soccer team and ended her time with the team with many accolades. She was a three-time captain and was a first-team all conference player in her second year.
Rose said she is now convinced the initial test was a false positive.
“I just feel as though there’s a lack of humanity within the whole thing,” Rose said. “I don’t think that there was consideration that I tested negative a number of times and at this moment I’m completely convinced it was a false positive.”
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