Fresh off a big win over Ignacio, the Mancos High School girls basketball team’s season came to a grinding halt this week when its state playoff game was canceled because of potential exposure to the coronavirus.
According to Mancos School District Superintendent Brian Hanson, some students and staff were exposed March 4 to a student who later tested positive for COVID-19. School officials were notified about the positive case late Saturday.
According to Colorado Department of Health & Environment guidelines, those exposed to the virus have two options. Individuals can quarantine for 10 to 14 days, or they can test negative for the virus on Day 5 of their quarantine. If the test is negative, they can they can leave quarantine after an additional 48 hours.
The team’s game in the Colorado state basketball tournament was scheduled for Tuesday.
Players received negative test results Monday, clearing them to play a playoff game as soon as Wednesday.
The game was canceled by the Colorado High School Activities Association based on eligibility rules, effectively ending the team’s season.
“We tried to get CHSAA to postpone the game,” Hanson said. “But they wouldn’t do it. There was no flexibility from CHSAA.”
CHSAA Assistant Commissioner Bert Borgmann told The Journal that playoff games could not be postponed because of the scope and size of the tournament.
“When we are scheduling the tournament, it had almost 200 schools involved in it,” Borgmann said. “If we start to make adjustments for every school, and the next day we have to give a travel day, because Mancos or somebody would’ve had to travel. Then we would have to postpone another day. And then another day.”
CHSAA has rescheduled games only because of weather conditions.
“We haven’t moved a game for quarantines for any of our sports this year,” Borgmann said. “Schools were notified that we would not do that because of schedules that we had.”
Mancos athletes from other sports that were exposed had enough time to quarantine and get tested to participate in events.
According to Hanson, one exposed wrestler was able to follow the protocol in time to participate in the state tournament.
Six members of the boys basketball team were exposed last week, but the squad had just enough players to field a team and pull off an improbable victory Tuesday night.
All but one of the girls had been exposed to the virus.
Nonetheless, parents and players found the news tough to swallow.
Brandy Siote, mother of star senior Madi Hale, told The Journal that the players were devastated.
“COVID has ruined a lot of this for a lot of people,” Siote said. “But this was heartbreaking for our kids. To be the best they have ever been, and it didn’t matter to anyone but those girls, their parents and their friends. These girls were devastated and heartbroken. And some of them were hoping to get scholarships, but that’s not going to happen now.”
Brianna Yeomans, whose daughter is a freshman on the team, felt especially sorry for seniors.
“I think it’s terribly disheartening for them in regard to how their season ended,” Yeomans said. “They’re under huge amounts of pressure with COVID right now. You would think that they would be a little bit more understanding about schedules and games. What’s pushing a game one day?”
Though Mancos School District Re-6 has had individual cases of COVID, no outbreaks have been reported in the district since the pandemic started.
The state defines an outbreak as having two or more cases in a workplace or facility, with onset within 14 days.
Hanson told The Journal that the school district has now seen three confirmed positive cases since the beginning of the pandemic.
Mancos schools have been in-person since the start of the school year, though Hanson opted to have the high school learn remotely this week out of caution.
Yeomans said her daughter has generally felt comfortable with the school’s prevention policies. Students kids take occasional mask breaks, and three now sit at a table that was formerly used by six students.
Current policies include a mask requirement and social distancing whenever possible.
“As far as I know, they’ve done really well was as far as enforcing the masks,” Yeomans said.
Teachers also have had the option since last month to use at-home testing kits. Some are using them, while other have opted not to, according to Hanson.