Education Sports

Peninsula football cancels two games after COVID detected

Posted on October 18th, 2021 By:

Peninsula lost its chance to be the outright South Sound 3A League football champion because of a COVID-19 outbreak among the team.

The Seahawks and Yelm are both unbeaten in conference play and were to meet Friday in Yelm, but Peninsula had to cancel. Head coach Ross Filkins sent notification Thursday that the varsity and junior varsity were taking a “pause” until practices resume Wednesday because of a “health-related issue” within the varsity program.

Ethan Fias nears the end zone, accompanied by exultant Seahawks, on an 86-yard interception return.

The Seahawks, shown in an earlier game against Gig Harbor, have canceled two games because of COVID. Photo courtesy of Ed Johnson

Because canceled games aren’t registered as wins or losses, both teams could finish without a league defeat, presuming they win their final games, but Filkins said he didn’t know yet whether they’d be considered co-champions. Regardless, they’ll both qualify for the playoffs.

“Very unfortunate, but at least we can have an opportunity to finish league and playoffs,” Filkins wrote in an email.

The Seahawks’ final regular-season game is at home Thursday, Oct. 28, against Capital.

The COVID protocol is complicated and seems to change daily. The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department directs Peninsula School District nurses to determine close contacts, defined as being in a classroom, within 3 feet of somebody for 15 minutes or more who has been found to have COVID, said district spokeswoman Aimee Gordon.

An unvaccinated student must quarantine for 14 days or Test to Stay, in which they can be tested at school, with parental permission, or at a medical facility. Another option is to do a 7-day modified quarantine where they get tested between days 5 to 7 of the last date of contact. They must then present a copy of the test or negative results. The student can return to school on Day 8 if symptom-free. They need to continue to monitor symptoms for 14 days and can’t participate in any activities besides attending school.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, transmission among students is relatively rare, particularly when prevention strategies are in place such as wearing a mask, frequent hand washing, social distancing and adequate ventilation, Gordon said. Response to COVID-19 has evolved to include options like the Test to Stay program so healthy students can remain in school.

If vaccinated students don’t have symptoms, they don’t need to quarantine after a known exposure, but it is recommended that they be tested by a healthcare provider and monitor for symptoms for 14 days.

Peninsula’s originally scheduled opponent last Friday, Central Kitsap, was forced to cancel because of COVID. Peninsula replaced the Cougars with a non-league game against Lincoln, which had also lost its foe, Stadium, to the pandemic. The day before the Lincoln game, however, some Seahawks got the virus and it, too, was canceled.

Gig Harbor hopes to join its cross-town rival in the playoffs. Peninsula and Yelm have nailed down the top two spots. The Tides (2-3 in league), Timberline (3-2) and Central Kitsap (2-1) remain in the hunt for the other two berths.

By winning out at Timberline on Friday and the following week at home against River Ridge, Gig Harbor could reach the postseason.