LEWISTON – Bangor High School canceled a field hockey game against Lewiston High School on Tuesday after learning that quarantine protocols for COVID-19 had been changed to allow multiple girls to play.
A player for the Lewiston field hockey team tested positive for the virus last week. After hearing calls from six field hockey team members identified as close contacts and their parents, school committee members agreed on Monday to change COVID-19 quarantine guidelines for outdoor activities.
“We come here because we believe it’s unfair and inconsistent guidelines that keep us from playing our game and going to school,” second student Savannah Connor-Schade told committee members.
The new guidelines allow students designated as close contacts to return to school after seven days if they are negative for COVID-19 with a verified test outside of school on day five, or a rapid test at school the seventh day. The motion also states that physical contact must be demonstrated and not presumed.
Lewiston athletic director Jason Fuller said he spoke to administrators at Bangor school on several occasions on Tuesday morning before they finally made the decision at 1:30 p.m. to cancel the game . According to Fuller, administrators at Bangor felt the competition would pose an unnecessary risk to its students and staff.
Bangor athletic director Stephen Vanidestine did not return a call asking for comment on Tuesday.
Under the new guidelines, each of the girls returned to school Tuesday morning after testing negative for COVID-19, Lewiston Superintendent Jake Langlais said.
There were “a lot of variables to consider, but overall everyone is trying to make the best possible policy decision,” Langlais wrote in an email. “It’s a difficult situation. Hope everyone stays healthy, goes back to school and is able to compete. “
The game would have been the last competition of the regular season for the Lewiston and Bangor field hockey teams. The playoffs are scheduled to begin later this week.
Fuller said Tuesday was the last playable date for regular season competition, as allowed by the Maine Principals’ Association, so the game cannot be rescheduled. However, he is working on scheduling a scrum before the playoffs start so that junior college players have one final game and the team can celebrate senior night, which is scheduled for Thursday.
“I felt disappointed and a little guilty,” said Madison Freeman, a sophomore on the team. “If we hadn’t been to the draw we would have had a game today. But I also think it was always right to go to them so that my sister and my teammates could play in the (tentatively scheduled) game on Thursday.
Tracy Miller, president of the team’s recall club, said she was not surprised when Bangor called off the game.
“I think it makes sense given that there is a policy, that there are guidelines that almost everyone has been following all season, and all of a sudden that has changed,” she said. . “The decision was made without sufficient input from all important stakeholders, and it is not the kind of decision that should be taken lightly, without that kind of input.”
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