BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Berkeley County School District officials confirm that certain Philip Simmons High School athletic teams have been in close contact with people who have tested positive for the coronavirus.
The high school currently has five positive cases in the athletic community.
“Out of an abundance of caution to minimize the possibility of any further exposure, players from the varsity basketball and baseball teams, as well as the varsity and junior varsity cheer squads, have been presumed close contacts,” district spokeswoman Katie Tanner said in an email.
District officials said there are student athletes from six other athletic teams in the district quarantining currently.
“This does not necessarily mean a player on the team is positive, as they could be exposed during competition outside of the district,” BCSD officials said. “Individuals are quarantined due to a potential exposure.”
According to the district’s exposure protocols, outlined on their website, close contact exposed students must quarantine for two weeks or until they get a negative PCR test and a medical evaluation for symptomatic students saying their symptoms are not COVID-19 related.
COVID-19 positive students can return after 10 days from the start of their symptoms only if they have not had a fever for 24 hours and symptoms subside.
Tanner said district staff is working with school administration to ensure safety protocols including:
- Teams are advised to keep varsity and junior varsity athletes separate.
- When training and practicing, student athletes are to be separated, as practical, into small groups, and equipment is to be disinfected and sanitized between each use.
- Student athletes are to be subject to daily temperature checks and screening.
- Student athletes are advised to use individual water bottles.
- Student athletes are to wear face coverings when not actively involved in a drill or activity.
Parent Hope Gethers said her daughter is classmates with student athletes but has not been in close contact.
“It’s just hard to make the decision to send your child to school every day,” Gethers said.
Gethers said she was not aware of the cases and wishes more parents would be notified when large groups of students are considered exposed.
“I was hoping that they would send out a letter or a phone call or something to let us know what was going on,” Gethers said. “I was hoping they would say something.”
Students and parents are notified by the district if a person is considered close contact defined as less than six feet for at least 15 minutes with someone else that has COVID-19.