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Maryville to play Dobyns-Bennett in state quarterfinals

The TSSAA says it didn’t receive enough contact tracing information from the McMinn County Health Department
Published: Nov. 16, 2020 at 7:03 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Nearly three days after advancing to the quarterfinals of the 6A state playoffs, Maryville knows its next opponent.

Friday’s contest between McMinn County and Dobyns-Bennett was put on hold Friday after a player on the McMinn County roster reportedly tested positive for COVID-19. At the time, it wasn’t known how much contact the player in question had with others on the team, and because of this, the game was called off.

TSSAA Executive Director Bernard Childress shed some more light on the situation in a press release Monday evening that read, “the student-athlete in question was taking virtual classes only and was only at the school in the afternoons for football practice. According to the McMinn County football coach, this player was ill at practice on Tuesday November 10 and was sent home and had not been around any other McMinn County players since that time."

The student underwent testing the following day and was informed he was positive for the virus, but after extra testing by his family physician, was negative for COVID antibodies. Because of that, the student’s physician concluded that the student’s positive COVID test result on November 12 might be a false positive.

The player in question says that during the week’s practices he was never within six feet of anyone for fifteen minutes or more. While the McMinn County team traveled to the November 13 game by bus, the player in question traveled separately in a car with his parents. When the team stopped for a team meal, the player and his parents ate in a separate part of the restaurant away from the team. During that team meal the Coordinated School Health Supervisor informed the player that he would not be permitted to participate in the game.

The TSSAA COVID-19 Sports Regulations require that “[a]ny student or staff who has been in close contact (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or longer) of a person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 must quarantine at home for a period of 14 days from their last exposure to that individual.”

The McMinn County High School Reported Case Protocol requires contact tracing for any individual either 48 hours prior to symptom onset if symptomatic or 48 hours prior to test date if asymptomatic.

Even after all the regulations, there was still a chance for the second-round game to be played on Tuesday, November 17th, but the TSSAA informed the McMinn County Health Department that it needed adequate contact tracing information by the end of the day Monday in order to schedule a game Tuesday.

“Unfortunately, we did not receive the needed verification from the McMinn County Health Department. We therefore have no alternative but to call off the game and advance Dobyns-Bennett High School in the playoffs. We have all known that in the time of this pandemic, something like this could occur; but we are sorry the players from the two schools will not get to play this contest. We appreciate all the efforts that representatives from both schools made to get us all the information we needed or requested and to deal with this difficult situation,” said Childress.

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