Hamilton High football team to miss next two games due to COVID-19

43 players required to quarantine after 1 teammate tested positive for the virus.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced Hamilton High School to cancel its next two football games after one player tested positive, and 43 varsity and reserve players were quarantined for 10 days.

It would have been possible for the players to have the second game, said Athletic Director Missy Harvey, but because the players cannot return to school until Sept. 1: “That was giving our kids two days to prepare for a varsity football game, and for them to have been off for 10 days and come back, and to get acclimated, it did not seem to be a safe or fair situation for us to put our players into, which is why we went the full two weeks.”

The cancellations are not just a disappointment to the players, other students, faculty and families, but also to the community at large, which was looking forward to finally attending a home game again, said Harvey.

The varsity team won its first game, against West Clermont High School, 43-28.

Scratched from the schedule are what would have been the first home game, against Edgewood, and a game at Princeton.

That means Big Blue’s first home game will be Sept. 17 against Lakota West, following a Sept. 10 game at Lakota East.

Cancellations of high-school games this season because of COVID-19 will not count against teams as forfeits, Harvey said.

With the recent increase in COVID cases, “I’m not totally sure everybody was prepared for it, just across the state,” she said. “Now we’re just starting to feel its grip again.”

Harvey said several other students at the school also were quarantined after contact tracing. So far, no other teams at the school are affected, and no other student activities, such as dances, have been called off.

“We’re trying to keep things as normal as we can, just based on what the numbers show us,” Harvey said.

The cancellations “definitely lower the mood,” she said. “Our students were just looking so forward to a little normalcy. The first week, we were on the road, and we had several students go down there (to Clermont County), but I think the community was just looking forward to being able to watch from the stands this year.”

The students will be able to keep up using electronic methods of following along with what’s happening in the classrooms while they’re out, she said.

Because the varsity and junior-varsity teams practice together and stand on the sidelines, the disease exposure “really took everyone off of our JV program, so to speak, and it took a significant amount from our varsity team,” Harvey said.

“Obviously, everyone is disappointed,” Harvey said. “Everybody wants to play all 10 games, so obviously, very disappointed, which I fully understand that emotion.”

School officials learned of the positive test as classes ended Monday. Schools’ nurses spent two hours performing contact-tracing research, “and we ended up with the names of all the kids,” Harvey said.

Harvey had no issues with the city of Hamilton’s health guidelines that the schools were following.

“We’re always looking out for the safety of our athletes, and we fully were in support of the decision to postpone weeks two and three, and based on the timeline, it was really the only thing we felt we could do for our athletes to make sure that it was the safest environment for them,” Harvey said.

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