Student-athlete at Ashley High School tests positive for COVID-19, several others quarantine

Updated: Jul. 13, 2020 at 3:51 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A student-athlete at Ashley High School has tested positive for COVID-19, according to officials with New Hanover County Schools.

The school system says that the student last attended an athletics workout on July 6 — the start of voluntary workouts for the county high schools.

”The student was following all health and safety guidelines required by NCHSAA and NHCS and did not enter Ashley High School,” NHCS states in a news release. “Any close contacts are being identified by the Public Health Department.”

According to Julie Varnam, the Assistant Superintendent for Student Support Services for NHCS, several other students, who came in contact with this student, are currently self-quarantining. The workouts are split up into pods. Each pod has 5-to-10 students.

“The protocol states, which we have followed, that if a student athlete or a coach or a staff member involved in that pod has been identified, then the pod does self-isolate or quarantine for 14 days unless they have a negative test,” said Varnam. “Then they can come back with a negative tests. So it’s not the entire team, it’s not all of practice it’s pod related.”

Varnam says she can’t speculate where the student may have contracted the virus, but does not think it happened at the workouts due to the fact that strict safety and health guidelines are in place.

“We are following the guidelines that public health and the NC High School Athletic Association have laid out, which are pretty strict, and given what we understand on the transmission of the virus, it is not anticipated that it would’ve occurred there,” said Varnam.

Varnam says since they were already following strict headlines from state and health officials, there will be no changes made at the workouts, unless otherwise instructed by said officials.

A parent of a New Hanover County School senior student athlete reacted to the news.

“I will continue to trust the coaching staff at her school that are following the guidelines to keep our athletes safe,” said the parent, who wishes to remain anonymous, in a statement WECT’s Gabbie Williams. “Our students have endured so much already, and I am grateful at this small opportunity of normalcy that they have been given to resume the sports they love . Everyone has the choice to allow their child to participate or not . We know the risks but we are trusting the process and will continue to allow her to go as long as it continues. As parents, we know the risks but will continue to live life and take the smallest opportunities to give some normalcy to our student athlete.”

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