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Crestview takes quick action following first virus case

NEW WATERFORD — When the Crestview school board met on Wednesday to discuss the details of returning to school, the board and administration emphasized a very realistic topic heading into the year: There will be positive COVID-19 cases at some point.

Rather than throwing in the towel at the first sight of a positive test, the board and Superintendent Matthew Manley discussed different strategies in how they respond after Board President Dr. Edward Miller gave a presentation on the specifics of the virus.

The district had its first opportunity to respond to a positive test on Wednesday, as an athlete tested positive for the virus. When a football player tested positive, the district worked with the county health department on contact tracing and establishing procedures for the positive test.

According to a press release sent out by the school, part of the protocol includes determining close contact, which is defined as 15 minutes or more in a close confined environment. The team has three football players that fit the close contact criteria, so those players will be quarantined for 14 days.

“We knew that eventually this was going to happen,” Athletic Director and head football coach Paul Cusick said. “It’s very key to not freak out. It’s a situation where you have to deal with the positive test and focus on that, but you don’t want to create more panic. We’ve been very thorough, and the health department gave us a thumbs up on how we handled the situation.”

Due to the school’s immediate action to the positive case, the county health department indicated that the team would be allowed to continue to practice. However, Cusick decided to suspend all football practices until Aug. 17 in order to communicate with families a little more.

“The health department did not say we had to suspend practice,” Cusick said. “That was completely my decision as a coach to do that. Waiting until Monday to practice again gives us 11 days since the player had contact with anyone.”

The player last attended practice on Aug. 6 and reported the positive test on Aug. 7. According to Cusick, the player isn’t showing any symptoms and is feeling well.

While the district responded to its first positive test, the board realizes that this isn’t going to be the last. After his presentation, Miller emphasized that it’s going to take a community-wide effort to have a successful school year. During his presentation on masks, he used the quote, “Make a difference in someone’s life today.”

“Our number is not going to be zero,” Miller said. “We need to get that out there. I see other schools shutting down for two weeks because of one positive case. That’s just not fair to the kids. If you’re going to do that, just pull the plug now. We’re certainly not looking to sacrifice anyone’s health, but when you have a disease like this, it is going to be present.”

As time progresses and the school year gets closer, the district will continue to learn how to respond to positive cases.

slendak@mojonews.com

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