NHS sports team members quarantined

Chad Frey
The Kansan

According to Newton USD 373, a number of athletes are subject to COVID-19 quarantine following an exposure to the disease.

“While we cannot get into specifics due to HIPAA and FERPA regulations, we can say there are a large number of individuals in quarantine and some athletic teams have been impacted but not a whole team,” said Samantha Anderson, public information officer for Newton USD 373, in a written statement.

According to that statement, the district has had five positive cases within buildings throughout the district since Sept. 3. Individuals were quarantined to help slow the spread.

Because of the increase in individuals quarantined, the school will not have its JV football game on Monday.

According to an email dated Thursday from coach Chris Jaax to parents obtained by The Newton Kansan from parents of team members, an individual who tested positive for the coronavirus was at the JV game Oct. 5 and all individuals who traveled on the team bus are to be quarantined for 14 days.

According to the district statement, in this case as well as others, if a student or staff member was in close proximity to the individual, the Harvey County Health Department will contact them.

“I tell you this with a heavy heart knowing how hard those young men have worked and how much of an integral part of the team they are,” Jaax wrote.

According to a second email from Jaax to parents, the quarantine decision was made by the Harvey County Health Department.

Jaax declined to comment for this story, asking The Kansan to contact district officials.

Some players who were scheduled to dress for the Friday varsity game were part of the quarantine group and, as a result, not allowed to be at the game.

“Despite the fact that a number of young men who play in JV games also contribute as starters and special team players for varsity games will be unable to participate tomorrow the eligible players would still like to play,” Jaax wrote. “It is the senior's last home game and as is quite apparent now, they don't know how many more opportunities they will get.”

The team has two more games on the schedule — Oct. 16 at Salina South and Oct. 23 at Haysville.

“We will be vigilant to try and maintain proper health protocols to provide a healthy environment for the players,” Jaax wrote.

According to the district statement, USD 373 will continue its safety measures, including but not limited to wearing masks while in the building, social distancing where possible, temperature checks at doors and increased sanitization.

Other teams in the AVCTL have also been affected by COVID-19. El Dorado and Derby both quarantined football teams within the past month.