PSD stops summer sports workouts after reports of positive COVID-19 tests among athletes
Poudre School District has shut down summer workouts in all sports through the end of July because of positive tests for the new coronavirus among athletes, district athletic director Russ McKinstry said Wednesday.
McKinstry wouldn’t say how many athletes have tested positive for COVID-19 or what schools they attended.
“It’s more than one, but I’m not sure what the total is,” he said.
In a statement sent to parents and posted on the district's website Wednesday, the district said: "PSD is working with Larimer County Department of Health and Environment officials to investigate multiple reports of possible COVID-19 exposure among student-athletes on separate teams at two PSD high schools."
Athletes had been participating in voluntary conditioning, weight training and skills sessions outdoors since June 1 and indoors since July 1 while adhering to the social-distancing and group-size requirements mandated by the state and county health departments. The district allowed sports teams to begin practices June 22, provided their plans for following health protocols were approved by the district, a PSD spokeswoman said.
“We’re going to shut down until July 31, and we’re basically doing it because we’ve had some student-athletes that have tested positive,” McKinstry said. “Because of the recent surge, both in the state and county, we just thought it was the proper thing to do in the best interest of our community and for our student-athletes.”
Coaches have been asked not to contact athletes during the shutdown, the district said.
"Questions and plans about athletics and activities for August and beyond will be made later and shared as soon as possible," the statement read.
McKinstry said all was going well with the summer workouts “until the past week,” when “some students tested positive.”
Those results were reported to the district by the athletes or others, he said. The district is not currently testing athletes for COVID-19.
Larimer County reported its highest number of positive COVID-19 test results in a single day with 37 Sunday and had its third-highest total with 21 Tuesday. The county had identified 15 or more new cases on seven of the past 14 days, county health director Tom Gonzales told the Coloradoan Tuesday, warning that the community is “getting lax” in its efforts to slow the spread of the virus.
And coronavirus cases among people ages 15 to 24 have accounted for over one-third of the total during the last month.
The Colorado High School Activities Association, which governs high school sports in the state, has not yet made a decision on if, or when, fall sports will be played but did allow schools to begin voluntary summer activities if their respective school districts permitted it.
CHSAA commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green said in a June 30 Q&A on Twitter that the organization “continues to prepare for a fall sports season” and that “mid-July will be a pivotal time period for assessment and what our state government health officials will allow within the guidelines.
“Those guidelines will ultimately determine the association’s ability to move forward, either fully, with modifications or with incremental sport-specific start dates.”
Poudre School District students are scheduled to begin classes for the 2020-21 school year Aug. 17.
The district has said it will provide an online only option for those who choose to receive instruction remotely but has not yet announced how the district at-large will operate at the start of the school year. Its options are of remote-only instruction, in-person instruction with health protocols, or a hybrid that would have students in each school two days a week and receiving instruction remotely the rest of the week.
Kelly Lyell is a Coloradoan reporter. Contact him at email@example.com, follow him on Twitter @KellyLyell and find him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/KellyLyell.news. Help support Coloradoan journalists by purchasing a subscription today.