Two California high schools have confirmed that they canceled football games because of COVID-19 cases among students.
Esparto High School near Sacramento confirmed that it canceled a game after it stated that six players tested positive for COVID-19. It also stated that multiple players were also injured and that it didn’t have enough players for a game.
This comes as there have been concerns that virus-related rules might be reimplemented in the coming months.
“Ensuring the well-being of students is not only a moral obligation but also a legal and ethical responsibility,” district Superintendent Christina Goennier told affiliate station FOX40.
Dr. Aimee Sisson, the Yolo County health officer, told the outlet that she supports the move.
“Our role in the health department is to support our schools in being able to stay open for that in-person instruction,” she said. “We provide support certain tips on what to do when there are cases provide testing resources. But really our goal for this school year is to keep kids in school in person, but also to do so safely.”
Hundreds of miles away, a high school north of Los Angeles also confirmed to local media outlets that it canceled a football game against a rival school after multiple COVID-19 cases were confirmed among its players.
“We have an outbreak,” Santa Paula Assistant Principal Daniel Guzman told the Ventura County Star. “The number is rising.”
Mr. Guzman was referring to multiple cases among its football and cheerleading squads.
“Football is part of our little town’s DNA,” he said. “[But] student safety is a priority above all.”
The cancelations come as a public elementary school in Montgomery County, Maryland, stated that it reinstated mask requirements for “students and staff in identified classes or activities” after several students tested positive. Officials said it would involve a kindergarten class.
“Since last Friday, more students and staff members have reported new cases of COVID-19, with classroom outbreaks occurring in a few schools across the county. This rise in COVID-19 cases is not unexpected, as our community gathers together, following a modest summer surge,” a school health official, Patricia Kapunan, wrote in a letter.
As reported by WUSA9, according to the letter, “measures may be temporarily introduced during outbreaks, including screening testing, distancing, and masking to control spread in a specific space where transmission is high,” and “students who cannot safely and consistently mask due to young age, a medical condition, or developmental disability are not required to do so.”
In a later report, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said no mask mandate is in effect for schools or any government officials in the county, which is located adjacent to Washington.
“Our concern would be if we start seeing a lot of people in the hospital, a lot of people go into ICU, not just in the hospital, but intensive care, and if our deaths click up. Then, we’ll be looking at mandates,” he said. “But what we’re going to be asking people to do is if you know you’re at risk and you’re in a crowded place, you should start wearing a mask again.”
Several schools in Alabama have also reintroduced mask-wearing amid reports of an increase in COVID-19 cases. In Dallas County, Alabama, a probate judge told local media outlets that masks will be mandated in offices that have interaction with the public.
In August, multiple hospitals also reimplemented mandates or mask recommendations in several states, including in Upstate New York, California, and Massachusetts.
The mandates drew condemnation and concerns from several prominent Republicans, including former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. In a press conference several days ago, Mr. DeSantis said his state won’t reimplement mandates, and the former president released a video calling on Americans to resist COVID-19 lockdowns, mandates, and other requirements that he likened to tyranny.
“They want to restart the COVID hysteria so they can justify more lockdowns, more censorship, more illegal drop boxes, more mail-in ballots, and trillions of dollars in payoffs to their political allies heading into the 2024 election—does that sound familiar?” the former commander-in-chief said in a video in late August.
“To every COVID tyrant who wants to take away our freedom, hear these words: We will not comply, so don’t even think about it. We will not shut down our schools; we will not accept your lockdowns; we will not abide by your mask mandates; and we will not tolerate your vaccine mandates.”
Over the weekend, former White House official Dr. Anthony Fauci, while defending masks in the face of studies that say they’re ineffective, said it’s possible that mask recommendations may be given again but that a mandate is unlikely.
“I don’t see there being, certainly not federal mandates—I would be extremely surprised if we would see that,” he told ABC News.