Herriman High football team resumes practice following positive virus case

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How will outbreaks be prevented in the Fall?

HERRIMAN, Utah (ABC4 News) – As debates continue over school safety in the age of Coronavirus, the Utah High School Activities Association has given the green light for sports to resume this Fall.

But a positive COVID-19 case — a coach at Herriman High School for the football team — highlights the potential for exposure and spread.

The positive case was confirmed June 29; that’s when the football team stopped practicing, as team members and coaches were told to quarantine with no practice for two and a half weeks. 

“If there’s been an exposure in a team setting, everyone potentially exposed needs to quarantine for 14 days from the time of exposure. And by quarantine, that means stay home. No work, no school, no shopping, no movies out at the theater, no sports — none of that,” said Nicholas Rupp with Salt Lake County Health Dept.

It also means — despite games as usual on the field — that masks need to be worn on sidelines. Social distancing and hand hygiene need to be top priority. And, Rupp says, teams should monitor their players and staff for symptoms during team meetings.

“You need to be wearing a face covering whenever you are not actively engaged in a physical activity. I even know some baseball leagues where they are wearing face coverings while they’re on base. But not when they’re running bases,” said Rupp.

Positive COVID-19 cases will be handled on a case-by-case basis in conjunction with schools and local health districts. Nothing is certain this Fall, but for now sports are still happening as the school year is set to begin.

“In the last several weeks in Salt Lake County, we’ve had a number of exposures at high school sport events. Whether it be a practice, or a team meeting, or competition. Due to somebody not following quarantine, or not staying home when they were ill. And that’s something that is entirely preventable and that’s not acceptable,” said Rupp.

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Nick McGurk
Nick McGurk is an Emmy Award winning journalist and a Utah native — and he couldn’t be happier to be covering news, and raising a family, in his home state.

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