KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Only one week into the 2020 high school football season, there are four Kansas City-area teams who were placed in quarantine due to possible exposure to COVID-19 on the gridiron.
“Everybody wants to have everything be normal," Excelsior Springs School District Deputy Superintendent Dr. Jaret Tomlinson, "but everyone also wants everyone to be safe, and you can't have both of those all the time."
After a Savannah player was confirmed to have tested positive Monday, officials with Andrew County Health Department and Clay County Public Health Center launched a contact-tracing investigation to determine how many players may have been exposed.
"(If) they just play defensive line, then maybe it's just the other team's offensive line that's affected,” Jayne White, a registered nurse with the Andrew County Health Department, said. “But on the home team or on your own team, where did that kid go after the plays? Who stood on the sidelines? Where did they stand?”
White said the process of going through those possible contacts takes time, as many as 14 days in some cases, to identify everyone who may have been exposed.
“While it may take an athlete or a student out of the school or out of the game for a short period of time, the end goal in that contact tracing is to stop the spread,” Andrew Hoffman, the administrator of the Andrew County Health Department, said.
The schools will make decisions about this Friday's games and beyond in the coming days, but the hope is for the seasons to continue.
“We're going to do everything we can to provide a safe and healthy learning experience for students," Tomlinson said. "As long as we can do that, we're going to keep pushing ahead."
Excelsior Springs, which beat Savannah 33-21 last week, is scheduled to play at Warrensburg on Friday.
Savannah is scheduled to play at Lathrop on Friday, while Richmond, a 44-6 winner against Lathrop last week, is slated to play at Oak Grove.