Based on a Fayette County Public Health (FCPH) recommendation, Miami Trace Local Schools, Washington Court House City Schools, and the Fayette Christian School will be suspending all sports competitions from Saturday, Dec. 19 until at least Jan. 4.
Over the past seven days, there has been an increase of COVID-19 cases among student-athletes in both the Miami Trace and Washington C.H. districts, according to FCPH. A total of 26 positive cases among students have been reported since Dec. 9, and as a result nine school sports teams are fully quarantined and one is partially quarantined — representing approximately 100 student-athletes between the two districts.
“Case investigations and contact tracing have revealed that most of the current school cases are occurring among students who participate in sports,” said FCPH Deputy Health Commissioner Leigh Cannon. “This is not entirely surprising, as indoor activities including winter sports are considered higher risk than outdoor activities/sports. This not only affects the teams by eliminating their ability to practice and compete, but it also prevents the students who participate in sports from participating in on-site learning. A few students have been quarantined numerous times. As a result, we are concerned that student-athletes are not receiving the education that they need and deserve.”
Because of this, FCPH made the recommendation to suspend sports competitions until at least Jan. 4.
The option to allow for hybrid schedules to continue practices throughout the holiday break is being developed and will be presented by the school districts upon completion. By continuing hybrid practices the student-athletes will be able to stay conditioned and hopefully prevent injuries once competitions return.
“The administration at all three districts are in agreement that this is in the best interest of the students at this time,” said Cannon. “Preserving in-school education is the priority and outbreaks and quarantines from sports threaten on-site learning. This was not an easy decision and we understand that there will be disappointment, but we hope this pause from competitions and the implementation of hybrid practice schedules will allow students to stay healthy and return to school after the holiday break.”
The local school districts go into their holiday breaks after this week.
“We continue to be appreciative of the collective efforts in Fayette County,” said Miami Trace Superintendent Kim Pittser. “Working with all school district officials as well as the health department benefits the progress we are trying to achieve in order to keep in-person teaching and learning.”
A statement from Washington Court House City Schools read, “In an effort to prevent injury and allow our student-athletes to return to competition safely, teams will be permitted to practice with modified formats and times in a hybrid model. These modifications and timelines will be communicated to our teams by their head coaches in the near future.”
On Tuesday, Dec. 15, the Miami Trace Panthers varsity, reserve and freshman boys basketball games with Hillsboro were postponed and have been rescheduled for Saturday, Jan. 16 with the freshman game starting at 4 p.m.
The Washington Blue Lions did not play their boys basketball games at Jackson Tuesday, Dec. 15. No word yet on when those contests will be rescheduled.
There were supposed to be five basketball games Saturday at Washington High School between the Miami Trace Panthers and Blue Lions.
The three boys basketball games have been postponed.
The Miami Trace at Washington girls junior-varsity and varsity basketball games have been moved to Friday, beginning with the j-v girls starting at 5:30 p.m.
“On behalf of Fayette County Public Health, I want to emphasize that the administration and staff at all three districts are doing everything that they can to ensure a safe school environment for the students and athletes,” said Cannon. “We support their efforts and while we all look forward to a full return to in-person learning, we know that the hybrid model is working. With this model, fewer staff and students have been quarantined, and in turn, more students have been able to stay in school and benefit from some degree of in-person learning.”
Reach Record-Herald Editor Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352.