Over the past three weeks, we have experienced nearly as many positive COVID tests with staff and students in our school community, as we have in the past 18 months. With each positive test, there are actions the district must take, and those are beginning to take a toll. Those have included disruption to summer school, quarantining for the student or staff member that is sick, and quarantining (for those not vaccinated) for anyone identified as a meeting the definition of a close contact.
Today we had a positive test within the EHS Football program. I just met with District staff and multiple football coaches to problem solve this issue. The nature of football, being a sport that requires significant amounts of “close contact”, it does not take much to meet the cumulative 15 minutes within 6 feet standard (when not wearing a mask outside), that defines a close contact. As a group we agreed the only reasonable course of action is to cease football operations for a total of 14 days. I have communicated with Lane County Public Health, and they agreed. We believe this action gives us the best chance of playing football this season. Football practice will resume on September 1st. Coaches and athletes that are vaccinated, may continue to practice, but should monitor themselves closely for symptoms. Coach Peeler and his coaching staff will be reaching out to families that have been most closely connected to the sick student. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to him. Coaches will also be meeting to discuss practices for those students that have been vaccinated, and do not need to isolate, as well as potentially some “virtual practices” or “classroom sessions” over Zoom.
As a reminder to all our student athletes, and staff as well, the best way to protect yourself is with a vaccine, and it is the ONLY way to avoid being required to quarantine when you have been identified as a close contact. Myself, the H.S. administration, and certainly our football coaching staff are devastated that we have to take this action, we hope for a quick recovery for the sick student, a quick return to football practices and the ability to have a football season this year. We believe this action gives us the best opportunity to achieve that goal.