Updates Story from Sept. 9 Print Edition
By Marlana Smith and Troy Treasure
The North Shelby School District announced via social media Monday, Sept. 7 it had been notified a third high school student had tested positive for COVID-19.
The Shelby County Health Department informed the District of the first case Friday.
Sunday, the District and health dept. were in the process of identifying direct contacts and notifying parents. There were no classes in session Monday due to the Labor Day holiday.
However on Monday, the health dept. informed the District of the third instance.
Since March 24, there had been 57 positive cases in the county as of 11:22 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 9. At that time, the health dept. reported one death, 10 active cases, two probable instances and no hospitalizations.
On the previous Sunday, Aug. 30, North Shelby Superintendent Kim Gaines was contacted by the Lafayette County Health Dept. regarding the positive COVID-19 test of a Santa Fe High School football player.
The Raiders hosted Santa Fe (Alma, Mo.) Aug. 28.
Gaines and High School Principal Kerri Greenwell contacted each NS player’s parents that Sunday night to inform them of the development.
“After consulting with Shelby County Health Dept. Administrator Audrey Gough, we felt it was best to have the football team stay home Monday (Aug. 31) in order for us to gather more information from their health dept. and school,” Gaines said. “Then do contact tracing on Monday to determine the level of exposure to our players.”
During a review of game film, North Shelby players were identified who had some contact with the Santa Fe player in question. That information was given to the health dept.
“It was determined by Audrey, in consultation with an epidemiologist the dept. uses, that our players did not fit the ‘direct contact’ qualification … within six-feet for 15 minutes or more,” Gaines said.
The players returned to school Tuesday (Sept. 1) and were allowed to practice.
Head coach Seth Bass asked the team to wear masks when they returned back to school.
“The health dept. recommended that we put a handful of our guys in masks anyway based on presumed contact,” Bass said. “But since we couldn’t know for sure which athlete tested positive for sure due to HIPAA (regulations), I felt it was in our best interest to mask everybody up until we knew more.
“Plus, we’re a family and do things as a family,” Bass added.
The health dept. continues to stress the importance of wearing a mask when in public, social distancing of six-feet or more with no more than 15 minutes of interaction, avoiding large groups of people and frequent hand-washing.
Individuals who feel sick, particularly with a fever, cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose, loss of taste or smell, diarrhea and gastric discomfort are encouraged to contact their health provider or urgent care center for guidance regarding symptoms and next steps.