Blue Springs School District confirms 5 COVID-19 cases connected to athletics

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Posted at 5:16 PM, Aug 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-25 18:16:28-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Five Blue Springs School District student-athletes have tested positive for COVID-19, but only one has tested positive since fall practice was allowed to begin Aug. 9.

The other four student-athletes, including two Blue Springs South football players, tested positive during summer workouts at the district’s two high schools.

“The timeline and circumstances of the tests did not connect the two cases,” a district spokesperson said of the positive tests by two Jaguars football players.

It’s unclear what sports the other three positive cases are from, including the one reported since practice began, but hundreds of student-athletes participated in the district’s athletic programs during the past two months.

The Jackson County Health Department would not “confirm, deny or release information about specific cases,” but said extracurricular activities are discouraged at this time.

“At the level of community transmission we are currently experiencing, and with the goal of returning children to the classroom as soon as possible, we are recommending that extracurricular activities not take place at this time,” a Jackson County Health Department spokesperson said in an email to 41 Action News.

Based on the county’s gating criteria for in-person classes and extracurricular activities, the current 14-day positivity rate — 16.49%, according to Jackson County’s online dashboard — needed to drop by more than two-thirds to below 5% for the health department to sanction extracurricular activities.

The number of new cases per 100,000 Jackson County residents during the past two weeks — currently above 250 new cases — also would need to drop by more than 80%.

Despite the county’s recommendation, the Greater Kansas City Suburban Conference, which includes Blue Springs and Blue Springs South, unanimously voted Monday to continue all fall sports.

Blue Springs schools has issued some guidelines related to athletics and activities as part of its Return to Learn Guidelines (see pages 28-29) — though it doesn’t address steps to take when a student-athlete or coaches tests positive.