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Beulah football under quarantine

After a player tested positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, the Beulah football team is under quarantine for the next two weeks and will not play their first three scheduled football games.

“On Tuesday, Aug. 11, our football team had a player test positive for COVID,” head coach Matt Johnson said in a statement. “We have decided to suspend all football-related activities for two weeks. After the two weeks are up, we will start the required acclimation process for hope to return to play. During this process, we have to make sure our kids are ready to play, not just want to play. The important thing is that  we’re physically ready to play.”

Johnson said the player is doing well.

The two-week suspension, along with the acclimation period, will force the Bobcats to miss their first three games of the season, including regional opponent Pike County. As of Wednesday, there is not a definite plan to make up that region game.

The AHSAA has a minimum of a five-day acclimation period after a player is quarantined, but after talking with health professionals and other coaches, Johnson believes the acclimation period will take a little longer than the five-day minimum. 

“The earliest we can return is Aug. 26 for our players,” Johnson said. “Talking with coaches, staff and health officials, we determined that it’s going to take us more than five days to get acclimated.”

The targeted return to play date is Sept. 11 against Trinity, which is a region game, but it depends on how well the team acclimates after missing time.

“The acclimation process given at the beginning of the summer was helmets and shorts. I’m still getting information on that,” Johnson said. “I’m reaching out for advice from the AHSAA. We have to have our guys in shape, and we have to have some kind of contact before we play. There’s no way to have guys running in helmets and shorts and then expect them to perform at a high and safe level without contact. We have plans in place, but it just depends on what advice we are given.”

This is the fourth time the Bobcats have dealt with COVID-19 during the summer. The Bobcats started two weeks later than planned in June because of a positive in the elementary school. Roughly 10 players had to miss the next two weeks because of another positive test. Johnson himself had to miss some time after coming in contact with someone who tested positive for the virus in July. Johnson tested negative.

“That’s been our summer, crazy as it is,” Johnson said.

Johnson said that each student is receiving letters and phone calls to follow what to do.

“The Lee County Central Office has helped us out tremendously,” Johnson said. “They’ve given us a lot of guidance, help and advice that we’ve been able to follow. I just want them to know how thankful we are for their advice during this tough time.”