A positive COVID-19 case has prompted a two-week quarantine for the St. Cecilia High School football team and coaches, school officials said Thursday.
The Rev. Cyrus Rowan, middle school and high school principal at St. Cecilia, wrote a letter posted to the Hastings Catholic Schools’ Facebook page on Thursday announcing the news.
“We have been in contact with the local health department, who has identified all potential contact that may have taken place at the school and any other actions we should take as a school due to a recent positive COVID-19 case,” he said. “The local health department has made the determination that our high school football players and coaches only are to be quarantined for 14 days.”
Rowan encouraged parents to continue reviewing daily COVID-19 screening questions for sending a child to school, which also are used by staff as a way to reduce transmission of the disease within the school.
“The health and safety of your children and our staff is our highest priority,” he said.
The Rev. Thomas Brouillette, chief administrative officer of Hastings Catholic Schools, said the quarantine involves about 27 student-athletes and their coaches. He said the team and coaches are disappointed by the news, but are taking it in stride.
The Bluehawks were scheduled to play their second game of the season Friday night in North Platte against St. Patrick’s. With the length of the mandatory quarantine, STC’s game in week three against Twin River also has been canceled.
The team represents more than 10% of the roughly 220 students at the middle and high school.
“With a school of our size, it’s a little more of a shock through the system,” Brouillette said. “It affects so many kids.”
The case of the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, wasn’t the first to be confirmed in a Hastings school since classes began in mid-August.
Hastings Public Schools Superintendent Jeff Schneider said HPS has had one positive COVID-19 case in a student.
Schneider said HPS has had students in quarantine at various times in the two weeks since school started. As of Wednesday, 22 students in the school system were in quarantine for various possible exposures. Most of those in quarantine potentially were exposed to the virus outside the school setting.
Superintendent Shawn Scott said the Adams Central School District also has had a few students in quarantine in the three weeks school there has been open. Of the students tested for COVID-19, all have been negative.
Each school worked with South Heartland District Health Department to develop reopening plans.
The reopening plans include social distancing, use of face covers, and extra cleaning and sanitation in school facilities.
On Aug. 27, the health department issued a report stating it was seeing new cases of the viral infection associated with or affecting schools and school activities.
“One hundred seven people who work at or attend a pre-K-12 school in our health district have been, or are currently, in quarantine due to exposures to COVID-19 in the community, school, or school-related activities and services,” said Michele Bever, health department executive director, in the Aug. 27 news release. “Since Aug. 10, six lab-confirmed COVID-19 positive individuals isolating at home were either unable to begin school or are out due to COVID-19 since school began.”
South Heartland District case counts and trends can be found on the health department’s dashboard of local COVID-19 statistics. This dashboard, along with updates, guidance, news releases and other COVID-19 information and links can be found on the SHDHD website: www.southheartlandhealth.org.