When: Octorara School District board meeting, Jan. 11, via Zoom.
What happened: After hearing a presentation by district athletic director Angie Gaido, the board affirmed allowing the start of winter sports, with the first scheduled competition on Jan. 13.
Background: Gaido described the protocol for a student athlete’s return to sports after testing positive for COVID-19. The school district requires students to remain out of class for 14 days without symptoms. The team doctor from Penn Medicine laid out criteria for the return to sports, requiring an additional 14 days without symptoms and achieving other markers including an EKG.
What happens next: Because the board has questions about the process, they have asked the team doctor to be present at their next meeting Jan. 18 in person or by Zoom.
Why it’s important: Not all board members, and particularly Brian Norris, agree with the return of sports. He expressed concerns that athletics could increase the chances of increased COVID-19 cases among the general student population, endangering the continuation of in-person classes.
Quotable: “If anybody is honest with themselves it would be a minor miracle to think we would get through a season uninterrupted,” Norris said.
The cost: One option might be to ask student athletes to switch to virtual learning through Octorara Virtual Academy. The cost of that move for 80 students is estimated at about $160,000, plus the cost of additional staff.
Other happenings: Chester County Health Department has requested to use the high school as a vaccination center but no dates or details are available at this point.