SELLERSBURG — A Silver Creek High School football player has tested positive for COVID-19, according to football coach Dave Papenhaus.
Players practicing in the same training group as the student will be working with the Clark County Health Department and Baptist Health Sports Medicine staff for quarantining and possible testing, Papenhaus announced Saturday on the Silver Creek Dragons Football Touchdown Club Facebook page.
On Tuesday, July 5, the player learned a family member he had been in contact with had tested positive for COVID-19. Last Tuesday was the last day he was at practice before the player was quarantined and tested, the coach said. The player and his family are asymptomatic, and when the results came back positive Saturday for the player, his parents called Papenhaus Saturday.
The coach called the parents of players in the same training group as the player who tested positive, and the other players in the training group will be quarantined for 14 days unless they test negative for COVID-19. Those who test negative will quarantine for 72 hours after the test result, according to Papenhaus.
Clark County Health Officer Dr. Eric Yazel said the quarantine period might need to be extended depending on levels of exposure to the player, which the Clark County Health Department is still trying to determine.
There are 12 other players and two coaches in quarantine who were part of the training group. Several in the group have been tested and are waiting for results, and Papenhaus said he believes everyone in the group intends to be tested.
The team cancelled Monday’s football practice to allow the Clark County Health Department to conduct contact tracing and Papenhaus later cancelled practice for the rest of the week.
The football team has been following the Indiana High School Athletic Association guidelines by practicing in small training groups, which consist of 12 to 13 people. Players that were part of separate training groups may resume practice at the scheduled times.
Papenhaus said he believes it is a “one-off situation,” and he feels that the school followed health guidelines “to the letter.” ”I think everyone understands that this is kind of our new normal at this point,” Papenhaus said.
“I know at Silver Creek we’re being transparent and upfront to tell everyone what we know and when we know it. I think it’s been received as well as possible —everyone in the families I spoke with understood, and we’ve followed the procedures and protocols outlined to us.”
Yazel said Silver Creek Community Schools has done a good job in following policies and procedures in this situation, and the Clark County Health Department will be making recommendations to Silver Creek on how to proceed with athletic protocols.
Yazel said it is important to be aware “that this not going to be unique, isolated incident” as students begin group activities such as sports and return to school.
“I think with the uptick in cases with the young population, this is something we’re going to see more often,” he said. “I’m going to be blunt about that. We just started this morning doing a review and discussions about [the Silver Creek case], and it sounds like the way they handled it, the player was with a cohort, or more of a [small group], than exposed to everyone. That’s what we wanted and asked for — when large groups minimize exposures, it makes easier to know who’s been in contact with whom.”
Silver Creek High School Athletic Director John Dablow said the positive COVID-19 case was properly reported to the school, and he appreciates that coaches at Silver Creek are following health guidelines amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The school is implementing a number of changes at practices as student athletics resume. ”Kids come in with a mask, and coaches are doing health screenings before they are allowed to practice,” Dablow said. “We are trying to make smaller groups, and they should be working out with the same individuals during each practice. All coaches are wearing masks, and all kids have their own separate water bottles. We’re sanitizing things as quickly as possible between groups or after practice.”
A player wanting to be tested can go to Baptist Urgent Care at 5130 Charlestown Road in New Albany, according to the Silver Creek Dragons Football Touchdown Club post.