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RBHS football volunteers rearrange the masks players wear at the JCHS game Friday, Sept. 11. Photo by Ana Manzano.

RBHS football player tests positive for COVID-19, Friday game against Battle cancelled

The RBHS football team chose to cancel this Friday’s football game against Battle High School because of safety concerns after a RBHS player tested positive for COVID-19. Principal Jacob Sirna made a statement on his Instagram and Twitter, and explained “the district and the health department are working through the appropriate protocols with regards to positive test results.”

These protocols involve close contact tracing, which is the process of identifying which individuals may have come in contact with an infected person. RBHS nurse Tammy Adkins said contact tracing may be more complicated when it comes to football.

“What gets so tricky is that given the nature of some of the sports, physical contact is unavoidable or the 6 foot physical distancing bubble is difficult to maintain,” Adkins said. “So in sports like football, there could be a much higher count of close contacts affected than a sport like golf where distancing might be easier to maintain.”

So in sports like football, there could be a much higher count of close contacts affected than a sport like golf where distancing might be easier to maintain

RBHS nurse Tammy Adkins

After the team identifies close contacts, those players are expected to quarantine for 14 days. All players are quarantined at the moment, and will not be returning to practice until Oct. 15, two days before their game against Hickman High School. RBHS athletic coordinator Michael McGinty said the team is taking measures other than quarantining to stay safe.

“Washing hands before and after competition [and] practice, allowing for space on busses and permanent seating charts,” McGinty said. “mandatory temperature checks and screening questions are just some of the additional ways we are working to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

The cancellation has caused complications for the team, and could possibly pose a threat to their 4-2 season record. The quarantine does not mean players are at a complete standstill though, junior wide receiver Payton Messer said.

“I think we will be fine because we are still going to be conditioning on our own and learning new plays from our coaches,” Messer said. “Only missing one game is a plus.”

Coaches encouraged the team to take other precautions to prevent the spread. Wearing masks, social distancing, and frequent handwashing is important for the team now more than ever.

“Our best protection against the spread of the virus among our sports teams and in our community is to physically distance and wear a mask to the greatest extent possible” McGinty said.

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