Calaveras High School will have to wait a little longer to have any homecoming festivities, as Friday’s scheduled homecoming football game against Bradshaw Christian has been canceled due to positive COVID-19 tests. There will be no varsity or junior varsity game.
As of Monday, weekly COVID-19 testing for all Calaveras County student-athletes will be required, which means there is a likely possibility that more games could be canceled on short notice.
Calaveras has its scheduled bye-week on Sept. 24 and won’t return to the gridiron until Mother Lode League play begins on Oct. 1 against Argonaut in Jackson. Calaveras only has two home league games and both contests are during the school’s fall break. Calaveras will host Sonora Oct. 8 and then Amador on Oct. 15. The season will end Oct. 22 against Summerville in Tuolumne. Because Bret Harte cannot field a varsity squad, Calaveras only had nine scheduled games. With Friday’s cancellation, Calaveras will only get to play eight regular season games.
On Monday afternoon, it was decided that all homecoming activities and festivities would be postponed until the week of Oct. 18-22, when Calaveras is scheduled to take on Summerville on the road.
“This is a very difficult and challenging situation for all involved,” Calaveras Unified School District Mark Campbell said. “We are all trying to navigate the impacts of the quarantines and make decisions as best we can to try to protect our staff and students, as well as provide opportunities to continue to engage in school overall, and in homecoming festivities specifically.”
As expected, there were some who opposed Friday’s game being canceled. Before the decision was made to postpone homecoming week, it was believed by many that the festivities would continue as usual, just minus the game.
Even for the students who tested negative when the last batch of testing was conducted, because they were around teammates who were positive, they are having to quarantine until Sunday and would have missed out on all homecoming related events.
On Monday morning, a handful of Calaveras football players and parents held a small protest at the high school before classes began. Law enforcement was on hand to keep the event civil, and school began without incident at 8:25 a.m.
New rules for testing
With the 2021 fall sports season underway, the Calaveras Health and Human Services Agency has changed the game. As of Monday, all high school student-athletes, regardless of what sport they are participating in, will be tested weekly for COVID-19. The guidance will remain in place until further notice.
“We have seen a dramatic rise in Calaveras County students being quarantined or in isolation because they tested positive for COVID-19 or were exposed to someone who was,” Calaveras County Health Officer Dr. René Ramirez said. “The county’s low vaccination rate coupled with mask refusal leaves Calaveras children more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection. This order outlines what schools must adhere to so that we prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in our schools and communities and to avoid cancellation of sports altogether.”
While canceling sports was on the table, weekly testing is the current plan. According to the Calaveras Health and Human Services Agency, “In lieu of canceling, student participants must commence and continue twice-weekly antigen testing or once weekly PCR testing, within 72 hours of competition, performance or event, regardless of age or vaccine status. Tests performed at home do not meet the screening testing requirements. Individuals who have had a positive COVID-19 test in the past 90 days are excluded from testing with documentation of positive test result.”
In regard to indoor sports, which currently is only volleyball, masks are required for all individuals, which includes teachers, staff, students, game officials and visitors, regardless of vaccination status. Masks are not required when actively participating in sports or extracurricular activities when a mask cannot be worn. Under the local order, masks are required during outdoor events for all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, when there is sustained contact of three feet or less for a duration of 15 minutes or more.
Calaveras High School began testing on Sept. 8, while Bret Harte will begin Tuesday. Calaveras Public Health encourages the community to stay safe by taking some simple precautions, such as: getting vaccinated; wearing a mask; getting tested for COVID-19; staying at least 6 feet from others; and voiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces.
Calaveras football, along with Bret Harte volleyball, and boys’ and girls’ basketball did weekly COVID-19 testing in the 2021 spring sports season. This will be the first time that golf, cross country and water polo will be required to test.