Positive COVID-19 test causes cross country team to quarantine


Kenna McNally

Cross Country season was interrupted this week when two athletes tested positive for COVID-19.

By Andrew Phalen, Sports Editor

Less than a week into practice, the Lawrence High School cross country team has been placed under a 14 day quarantine due to two positive tests on the team.

On Thursday night, families and students received an email from Principal Cynthia Johnson stating that two students participating in cross country had tested positive for COVID-19. 

“As you know, nothing is more important to us than the health and safety of students and staff,” Johnson said. “As a precaution, we have canceled cross country practice until September 3. This is because the team had done stretching exercises together, and we are unable to identify who may have been exposed or in close contact with these two students.” 

Friday morning, cross country parents received their official notice of a 14-day quarantine in the form of an email from Lawrence Public Schools executive director of communications Julie Boyle. The email explains that the COVID positive students last attended practice on Wednesday, Aug. 19, and are now isolated per public health guidelines. The students had partaken in stretching within six feet of other athletes while wearing masks, but coaches and administrators were unable to identify who came in “close contact,” as in being within six feet for longer than 10 minutes. 

“Because we cannot identify who may have been in close contact, all members of the cross country team are mandated by public health officials to self-quarantine for 14 days,” Boyle said in her email. “Having a negative COVID test does not exempt your student from finishing the full 14-day quarantine. If they have not developed symptoms by the end of the 14 days, they may end their quarantine. A negative COVID test is not required to resume regular activities after quarantine.”

“Even though it’s disappointing that our season is broken up, it is only a temporary trade off we’ll have to make,” senior runner Abdullah Ahmed said. 

The first meet of the season was tentatively scheduled for Sept. 5 at Manhattan, two days after the quarantine ends. Also, this week, parents were notified that a student who had participated in the marching band summer program had tested positive for COVID-19. Other schools have had similar struggles with more than 100 football players at Blue Valley West under quarantine after some players tested positive. Shawnee Mission, Blue Valley and Olathe have suspended their fall sports seasons, and Kansas City, Kan., has canceled its season entirely.