*UPDATE* Second coach tests positive.
No students have tested positive as of yet for Covid-19 among Homer High School football players, after they were ordered into quarantine following a positive test result that showed up in a coach or other adult associated with the program on Tuesday afternoon. School officials wouldn’t say exactly who the infected person was, but it is clear it wasn’t a student.
On Thursday evening, Homer High Principal Doug Waclawski announced on Facebook that a second person associated with the team has tested positive, and that both individuals are coaches. Waclawski said he was given permission to announce that information. He said the new positive case was with someone already in quarantine, and their close contacts since exposure have been notified that they must now quarantine as well.
On Wednesday, Principal Waclawski took to a live video to address the situation.
“The contacts were generally confined to people on the football team,” Waclawski said. “We don't have any positive cases for our students, but they are considered contacts and that that's why they need to be home in quarantine for the 14 days.”
School Nurse Sharron Gorman explained how they conducted contact tracing to determine who was exposed.
“We identified all the contacts by cameras, talking to the person who's positive, talking to coaches, quite a few things went into that,” Gorman said. “And right now we know it's only the football program and there's no other staff or students involved.”
They determined that the team was exposed on three occasions; two practices and last Saturday’s home game against the Soldotna Stars. Waclawski said it was important to put the football team into quarantine after their exposure.
“When they've had a known exposure, which this is a case, they need to be at home for the quarantine for the 14 days,” Waclawski said. “And that is because it can express itself within two to 14 days, which means you could get a test after seven days and be negative, but at the 11th day you could be positive.”
No Soldotna players were determined to be a close contact of the infected Homer coach. Waclawski said there is little chance that anyone who was a contact-of-a-contact should be concerned, for example if someone rode a school bus with a football player after exposure. The same goes for fans at the football game, where he estimated 90 percent of more wore masks.
“I feel pretty confident. You know our issue, number one is to keep students safe, number one. And then the public safe, and make sure that it's not a super spreader event,” Waclawski said. “I'm very confident that it's not a super spreader event and that our students are safe.”
Waclawski said players in the game and adults actively coaching are allowed to remove their masks, but he said the rules for when masks must be worn, will be enforced.
“Yeah that's one thing that has to be followed. We've had some conversations, but it's either going to be followed or they're not going to be participating,” Waclawski said. “So I don't know if I could be any more forceful with that. So the policy is that coaches who are coaching and people who are in the event, don't have to wear a mask. Any coaches, not coaching or any athletes that are not in the event, need to be wearing masks.”
How the infection and mitigation efforts will affect indoor sports also came up, and the principal announced that there will be no food or drink allowed at games.
“We decided we can't do that, especially indoors more so than outdoors,” Waclawski said. “Because we really think that if we're having people coming into our building who are not our students or staff, they need to have a mask on at all times. If they're eating food, then their masks are off at some time. So, we're going to change that in our mitigation plan, no food or drink, and everybody who's in the stands have to have masks on a hundred percent of the time.”
The lack of booster club concession sales is just one of many ways student activities are being affected financially. Tune into KBBI’s Evening News at 4:50 to hear how Homer High School is responding.