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COVID, schools, & sports: Can the three co-exist in Fall 2020?

Posted at 4:41 PM, Nov 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-14 17:43:06-05

With so many schools cutting back, or going virtual for at least of couple weeks, our question for Dr. Tina Stefanski of the Office of Public Health is:

Are Acadiana's schools doing the right thing?

“I can tell you the schools have done an incredible job over the last several months,” begins Stefanski. “in controlling or trying to control or limit the spread of Covid-19 within the school setting. What they're faced with right now is lots of exposure outside of the school setting, primarily in social gatherings.”

And there are the key words in Covid spread for schools, says Stefanski.

Outside. Exposures.

“Kids start getting together, at each other's houses, hanging out in the community,” continues Stefanski. “This is really a time to keep your kids close, keep them home, and do what the schools are trying to do which is reduce this cycle of transmission.”

Let’s take our school discussion and extending it to high school football where, on the day of this story, there was a big football game at Carencro High, where the Golden Bears hosted the St. Thomas More Cougars; two of the best teams around. Now, STM just announced classes at the school are going virtual for at least the next couple weeks, because of Covid-19. I asked Carencro head coach Tony Courville if that news brought any extra concerns for him, his staff and his players.

The answer? Yes. At least a little. “When you first hear about it, you think in those terms, but you have to believe the other schools, too; I don't think anybody wants to intentionally give those (Covid transmissions) things, but I think once it occurs, they're (St. Thomas More) going to try to do the proper thing.”

And when it comes to athletics, Tina Stefanski says at the heart of Covid control is communication, self-reporting and being smart.

“But I think it's back to everybody being up front and honest about what's occurring,” Stefanski advises. “But using contact tracing to get those kids who may be asymptomatic or positive; then pull them out so there aren't any more exposures on that team.”

One thing is certain: Not so long ago, you only had to think about going to class or think about high school football. But the Covid Era has definitely shaken up the works.

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