Three Pioneer football players have tested positive for COVID-19, Athletic Director John Bingaman confirmed on Thursday night.
Bingaman said all three student-athletes are asymptomatic.
“We shut things down for football until Wednesday, Aug. 5,” Bingaman said. “Just to be safe we shut down the rest of our summer activities with the exception of girls golf until the fall sports season starts on Monday, Aug. 3.
“That’s barring no new identified cases or anything like that. So we’re keeping our fingers crossed and we’re remaining optimistic. We’re hoping for the best.”
Bingaman said the school acted immediately.
“We shut it down as soon as we could. We basically shut it down when we thought there was a possibility,” he said. “With the 14-day quarantine, we have to go basically to the last day there was contact with that person, with the student-athlete, with the team.
“Once we got the positive cases back, once we were told, then we acted obviously.”
The Pioneer athletic director added he has contacted other area schools.
“I contacted our county AD’s and I contacted all of the AD’s that border our school district just to let them know what’s going on, just being a good neighbor, just let them know, hey, this is the situation here.
“I don’t think it’s an outbreak. I just think with the number of cases that have spiked in Cass County the last week maybe, the last couple weeks, and in Indiana, I think we’re just part of those numbers.”
The student-athletes in question are asymptomatic, Bingaman reiterated, and said they were tested because they came in contact with adults who had tested positive.
“I don’t know how much I can divulge into that. We think, and the Cass County Health Department would have more information, but we believe that a parent of one of our student-athletes was exposed. And that’s how it happened,” he said. “That’s how we got the ball rolling.
“We cannot release the names of the student-athletes or the guardians.”
Bingaman is hoping the three cases are isolated cases.
“The policy talking to the Cass County Health Department is they’ve got to quarantine and they’ll take it from there,” he said. “We’ve encouraged all of our football kids to quarantine. I basically told all of my coaches, nothing at the school. It’s a shutdown because I’m afraid we’re such a small, tight community with our athletes that you never know, and we’d rather be safe than sorry.
“Our coaches have done an excellent job with following our protocols established by me and our administrators. They’ve done a good job with that.”
Bingaman said the novel coronavirus is “so tricky.”
The three Pioneer football players “are asymptomatic and I think most student-athletes throughout the state that get tested that are positive are probably asymptomatic. These kids are young and healthy for the most part and they’re not going to show signs. The thing that I think most people are fearful of, and I’m no expert by any means, is getting them to understand that and making sure they don’t spread it to older individuals. Maybe it’s their parents or maybe it’s their grandparents or aunts and uncles, things like that, that’s the scary part.
“Our goal is to make sure we can have a fall sports season if we can. We just thought as an administrative team it’s probably a good idea to shut everything down, with the exception of girls golf, which is pretty isolated there at Pond View, just so hopefully we can have a fall sports season.
“Our coaches have done a nice job of following our protocol. We went to Phase 2 two weeks ago, so everything we thought was right on track. Obviously this is a major bump in the road. Like I said, I think we’re no different than other school corporations throughout the state and athletic programs that have had to deal with the same situation.”
Pioneer is scheduled to travel to Lewis Cass on Aug. 21 to open the season.