DUNLAP — After a long wait to begin conditioning for the 2020 high school football season, players for the Concord Minutemen will have to wait another week before resuming workouts for the upcoming campaign.
Concord is slated to open the season Aug. 21 with a home date against the Elkhart Lions.
The Minutemen opened summer workouts and conditioning July 6 in a three-phase return to sports plan due to the COVID-19 pandemic that shutdown spring sports and all summer activities before that date. An announcement was made this past Friday that workouts and conditioning for the football program were being suspended until July 27 after a football coach received a positive test for the coronavirus.
The Concord administration released the following statement:
“Concord Community Schools has learned that a member of the football coaching staff has tested positive for COVID-19.
“The staff member began exhibiting symptoms on Friday, July 17, was tested for COVID-19 and received a presumed positive test. The name of the individual who received a positive test will not be released.
“Superintendent Dan Funston immediately notified Elkhart County Health Department officials. District leaders have communicated directly with the affected staff members and families of the students who were in contact with the individual.
“‘We share the community’s concern that a staff member has tested positive for COVID-19. We want to emphasize that this individual’s exposure to students was not considered close contact by the Elkhart County Health Department’s guidelines,’ Funston said.
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a high-risk contact as anyone within six feet of a confirmed case for more than 15 minutes. The staff member confirmed that protocols were followed and that no students were high-risk contacts.
“Several other employees who were working closely alongside the individual are considered high-risk contacts. For this reason, we are following the advice of the Elkhart County Health Department and suspending football workouts until July 27. The coaching staff will be tested and, upon isolating for 10 days and receiving a negative test result, will return to lead the workouts on July 27.
“Although the exposure is not considered high risk, district leaders have been advised by the Elkhart County Health Department that the best course of action for all individuals is to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle aches, loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and chest pains.
“‘We encourage our community to follow the advice of local, state and national health officials, including practicing good hygiene, contacting medical professionals if symptoms present and ensuring that social distancing is taking place,’ Funston said.”
While the news is not good Concord Athletic Director Dave Preheim feels the incident was given quick attention and has been handled properly.
“We are thankful no students are involved. All of the proper precautions have been taken, and we have taken all the steps needed to ensure the health and safety of our staff and students,” Preheim said. “The health and safety of our staff and students has to be in the forefront.
“Members of the coaching staff had interaction with the individual and they will have to go through the quarantine process.”
The Concord boys basketball team has been doing some shared workouts with the football team.
“The two teams shared some workouts but none of the basketball players had high-risk contact with the individual,” Preheim said.