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Jackson County student athlete tests positive for COVID-19, Sneads coach talks about dealing with coronavirus

Published: Jun. 23, 2020 at 12:32 PM CDT
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JACKSON COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG) - A student athlete in Jackson County has tested positive for COVID-19.

The Jackson County School District’s Facebook page Monday night, a student has tested positive for the virus and contact tracing is going on. In the comments of the post, the school district says the student was an athlete and the district wanted to inform parents of the situation since coaches are conducting conditioning training right now.

As area student athletes get back on campus for their respective sports workouts, it is perhaps not all that shocking to find out there may be a few turn up positive for the coronavirus. Bearing in mind healthy teens are at an extremely low risk of having serious symptoms, if any at all with COVID.

That doesn’t mean the area school districts aren’t being overly cautious when it comes to protecting student athletes as they return to campus for summer workouts, in what’s being called phase two of the easing of restrictions for athletics.

We’re told in the Jackson County case, the 8 other players and the coach working with the student-athlete who’s tested positive are being kept away from the school, a self quarantine for that group, but the workouts go on up there.

We know that student athlete who tested positive is not at Sneads, but I did speak with the Pirates head football coach about working with his guys in this age of COVID-19.

“It’s new to all of us.” coach Thomas told me via Skype. “I don’t think Covid is something that’s going to go away soon but it’s something that...it’s just the world that we’re going to have to live in. And the steps that we are having to try to go through to keep up with the safety of these young man you know it seems like there’s just a lot of different things just to start practice. From taking every kid’s temperature to making, lifting, we are still lifting weights outside. I know some people went back inside, but we are still doing it outside because the (potential) cases and then, every time you hear of a new case you have to quarantine the kids. It’s the world we are living in.”

As for how productive workouts can be, given there can't be any football "contact" in these workouts, I asked coach Thomas if they are moving forward or simply spinning their wheels?

“We are moving forward.” the coach replied. “Are we moving forward as much as we would if we were doing everything like we normally do? Probably not, just because of the time. Just because of you know, having to keep some kids away, if they have been to this area or that area. Now we are not going ss fast as we were. But we’re moving forward, moving forward. And the key is to make sure, that if we get to start on time, to make sure these kids are ready physically so we are not endangering the young man. You know you say are we spinning our wheels? Sam but we’re still we’re gaining some ground.”

Coach says despite all that it’s important for athletes, especially football players, to be working towards next season, and what he hopes will be a season that starts on time, or close to it.

As for student athletes in Bay County, well they too are moving forward. And they too are doing so under some rather watchful eyes, says Josh Balkom, the Bay County Schools Director of Operational Support Services.

“It’s something we’re keeping a really close eye on, and we’re communicating frequently with our coaches, athletic directors and administrators.” Balkom told us Tuesday. “The Department of Heath is a great partner with our school district and we work closely with them on a number of related situations, when it comes to anything COVID-19. And they would be the first contact that we would make and would follow their guidance.”

Jackson County School personnel continue to work closely with Jackson County Health Department officials while they...

Posted by Jackson County School District on Monday, June 22, 2020

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