The coronavirus has taken its first high school game of the season in White County.
An outbreak of positive tests at Harding Academy forced Superintendent James Simmons to cancel the Wildcats’ Aug. 28 football game at Bald Knob.
Simmons confirmed nine positive tests at Harding Academy, eight of which are on the football team. Thirteen other football players are in quarantine.
Forty-nine total students are in quarantine as a result of being in close contact with the positive students “for more than 15 minutes,” he said.
Two of the positive cases returned to school Thursday after being cleared by the Arkansas Department of Health.
Simmons also confirmed that the first positive case surfaced Aug. 10, the second day of school. The latest positive test occurred Tuesday.
“We are trying to get our school healthy so we can have students engaged in learning and hopefully be ready to play sports later,” Simmons said.
Simmons added that none of the players had common symptoms.
“No consistency in players,” Simmons said. “All different symptoms. Some no symptoms. Only common thread was a positive test.”
The Wildcats did compete in a home golf match at River Oaks Country Club on Thursday afternoon with Bald Knob and Central Arkansas Christian.
Harding Academy was scheduled to host a scrimmage against McCrory on Tuesday, but that was canceled last week, according to Simmons, because less than 20 players were available to play.
At this point, Harding Academy’s football and volleyball season’s resumption is uncertain.
“We wanted to get in control as far as number of cases,” Simmons said. “We didn’t want anymore positive cases.”
Simmons emphasized that none of the infections happened during competition, but “in social gatherings related to the football program.”
Simmons also said the Department of Health is assigning “contact tracers“ and will be the assigned agency to determine when the students can return to school.
“We feel for each of our young people who are away from school and school activities,” Simmons said. “We are hopeful each of our young people get healthy and can soon return to their school.”
Football and volleyball games have been canceled until further notice. Simmons did say that golf and tennis would continue.
The cancellation of the Aug. 28 game will be as if the game was never scheduled and won’t count as a win or loss for either team.