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CPS Athletic leaders discuss moving forward as program reports positive COVID-19 case

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

Columbia Public Schools Athletic Department officials discuss moving forward after reporting a positive case on one of it's football teams on Thursday.

The Battle Spartans will not play their scheduled matchup versus Hickman on Friday night due to possible exposure to COVID-19.

The program said after a recent positive case, which may have exposed the football team they are exercising caution.

Some have voiced concerns about CPS sports teams playing sports, while in-person school is not in session.

Dave Egan, Columbia Public School’s Athletic Director said there are so many differences when planning to educate over 19,000 students, versus extracurricular activities that are a choice, and are broken up into teams of smaller rosters. 

Egan said this positive case is another piece of information the district will use to help make decisions moving forward. 

“This is another thing that will factor into our evaluation process,” Egan said. “Just as... community positivity rate data and... other guidance that we're seeing. We're kind of constantly in this state of evaluation and so it is... something that will factor in but it will, it won't be the only thing that we evaluate.”

Egan said he is constantly receiving feedback whether it’s those rooting for sports to continue, or those who are worried about the risks.

He said there are some concerned citizens that point out the risks associated with sporting events and ask if it’s the right choice to continue.

Although Egan said the majority of the feedback comes from those who are supportive and want to see even fewer restrictions like allowing more spectators during those events. 

“Everybody's perspective and everybody's feedback is valid,” Egan said. “I try to make a point to... listen very closely and carefully and honestly with... everyone who reaches out to me.”

Egan said CPS reevaluates everything happening throughout the department daily.

CPS’s athletic department follows the guidelines provided by local health officials and the Missouri High School Activities Association to have as comprehensive of a plan as possible when it comes to protective measures and risk mitigation strategies, but Egan said he knows that it ultimately doesn't eliminate all risks. 

“Structuring practices and activities to keep kids in smaller groups,” Egan said. “The screenings, those are all things that have been put in place that have been recommended by the medical people in the medical field, the sports medicine field as... strategies to try to reduce the risk as much as possible.”

Abc 17 News also spoke with a Rock Bridge football parent about the possible risks of being exposed to COVID-19 during games and practices and if this new positive case has altered their thoughts on allowing their kids to continue playing.

Brian Hajicek believes those who want to participate should be able to, as it's a really important part for some students to have their high school experience.

“We talked about it as a family,” Hajicek said. “Weighing the risks and understanding what the protocols were going to be, it seems like a safe thing to do. Every family needs to make their own choice….But for our family, it seems like a safe and really easy decision, honestly.”

Hajicek said it’s extremely important for his son to continue participating in a safe atmosphere while interacting with his peers, especially this year as this is the only thing from a school standpoint that is normal for him right now. 

“It really helps him in a number of ways,” Hajicek said not only physically but emotionally, being able to interact socially with his friends. So it's been an overall positive experience.”

Hajicek said possibly being exposed to the virus is a risk that you have to take.

The district said it is working through protocols to conduct contact tracing and deal with the positive test.

Columbia / Columbia Public Schools / Coronavirus / Education / Sports / Top Stories
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Amber Tabeling

Amber joined the ABC 17 News team as a multimedia journalist in December 2019. She was a student-athlete at Parkland College and Missouri Valley College. She hails from a small town in Illinois.

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