Cases of COVID-19 have sidelined two football teams in Fairbanks and suspended sports activities at Nome public schools, but so far all fall sports teams in Anchorage are still practicing in anticipation of competitions resuming as early as next week.
In July, the Dimond High football team stopped conditioning workouts for 14 days after a player tested positive, but as of Wednesday there had been no positive tests since fall sports teams returned to practice Aug. 17, an Anchorage School District spokeswoman said.
“There have been no additional new confirmed positive cases in our sports programs since the fall season began with conditioning-only practices,” ASD communications specialist Lisa Miller said by email. “We have had a couple of individuals report possible exposures from family members. Those individuals, including one head coach, were asked not to return to practice until cleared.”
The coach was not identified, and neither were the teams associated with other exposed individuals.
Miller said the individuals can return to practice after quarantining at home for 14 days with no in-person contact with others.
“A negative test cannot shorten a quarantine,” she added.
Alaska’s high school football started last weekend in limited fashion, with two games in the Valley and three in Fairbanks. When a student who played in the game between Lathrop and West Valley later tested positive, both programs were suspended and everyone associated with the teams -- about 90 people, according to Lathrop coach Luke Balash -- were asked to quarantine.
“I even told the boys before the game, ‘Hey, this might be the only one. You never know, so let’s enjoy it, make the most of it, and have no regrets,’” Balash said earlier this week.
In Nome, cross-country runners and volleyball players can return to practice on Monday, Nome administrator Patrick Callahan said. Activities were temporarily called after an athlete tested positive last week.
“All athletes that were in close contact with that person were put into 14-day quarantine by public health (officials),” Callahan said by text.
Though practices are resuming, no competitions are scheduled in the near future, he added.
“Most Western AK towns have travel quarantine rules in place that make interscholastic competitions pretty unlikely,” he said.
Anchorage teams got a late start on the season after practices were canceled July 22 when the number of COVID-19 cases put the Anchorage School District in the high-risk category. Classes are still happening online, but sports were allowed to resume earlier this month.
Competitions are expected to begin for most Anchorage teams next week, an ASD administrator said earlier this month. Football teams will be the last to play because players need additional practice time in pads, so those games are probably two weeks away.
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