What if a high school athlete tests positive for COVID-19? Schools working on plans for contact tracing

High School Sports

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – One day after Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee allowed contact sports to be played this fall, schools are working through a very important question: what will happen if a player tests positive for COVID-19?

“This is something that’s never been done before and it’s one of those things you make some type of plan execute it and believe in it and then adapt it as need be,” Greeneville athletic director Brad Woolsey said.

Schools are still working on what the plan will be if positive coronavirus tests show up on their teams. Woolsey told News Channel 11 a meeting is scheduled for Thursday morning with him and other regional athletic directors to try and come up with a universal gameplan.

“It’s one of those things I think we’re gonna do a lot of listening we’re gonna listen to our Northeast Tennessee health people we’re gonna listen to the TSSAA we’re gonna listen to these people and get the best practices and try to put those in place,” Woolsey said.

The TSSAA is encouraging schools to follow CDC guidelines when contact tracing a player who tested positive. The mission would be to find others who were within six feet of that player for more than 10 minutes.

“We’re not the experts when it comes to this virus we’ve got to depend on the scientists and people who specialize in infectious diseases to give us the answers,” TSSAA executive director Bernard Childress said.

Science Hill athletic director Keith Turner said that could require watching game film of the previous game to determine all the players on that team, and the opposing team, that came in close contact with the player who tested positive.

“We fully expect it to happen at some point whether it be to us or to an opponent where we might lose a game but I think everybody is willing to do that they know it’s coming no matter how hard you try,” Turner said.

These schools and sports teams have a new opponent this season: a virus that so far has shown few signs of slowing down.

“Contact tracing is gonna be difficult the schools have to err on the side of caution, if you think a kid’s gotta be quarantined they do, let’s not play with this,” Childress said.

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