XC Girl’s Team Under Quarantine

XC Girls Team Under Quarantine

Kate Roney, Content Editor

The past 24 hours has been a whirlwind for the Highland cross country team as its athletes have been told their season has been postponed, resumed, and postponed again because of a positive COVID-19 test and possible exposure.

On Tuesday, Sep. 15th, the Highland cross country athletes and their parents received a text from coach Tera Hunter saying that practice was cancelled due to potential COVID-19 exposure. There had been another false alarm earlier in the year so the team wasn’t too frantic. However, just a few moments later another text was sent saying that practice would also be cancelled for the following day. This is where the concern, and confusion, started to grow.

On Wednesday, more texts were sent to the team stating that the entire girls’ team would have to quarantine for two weeks. Whoever was exposed, tested positive.

But the roller coaster did not stop there as there was another twist. Further text messages informed the team that the health department had ruled it unnecessary for the team to quarantine due to the time the infected runner tested. The team rejoiced at the false alarm. Practice could continue.

The celebration was short. Shortly after, new information was sent out that the girls team was once again expected to quarantine until the 25th of September.

The change in decision caused a bit of whiplash.

“I don’t know whether to laugh or cry,” Abby Khatri, XC runner, said.

The cross country team rarely cancels for anything. It was cancelled earlier in the year due to a case of potential exposure and then once for air quality, so when practice was cancelled for two days in a row, it was a bit of a red flag to the players. Due to privacy, not much information was made available about who has possibly been exposed, whether they were a girl’s or boys’ team runner or a coach.

When clarification finally came on Wednesday, runners were first informed that the quarantine had been removed – but it was quickly reinstated to members of the girls’ team. That means any member of the girls’ cross country team must now self-quarantine for a full 14 days.

“I think that (quarantine and exposure) is just something we’re going to have to get used to,” cross country member Madi Howard said. “And I know it is frustrating that we are all in quarantine and stuff, but it is for the safety of others and I think that’s what we have to remember.”

There is a schedule meet for Friday, Sep. 17th at Murray Park, but the girls’ team will no longer be able to participate. The gap in time can also harm the cross country team’s chance of competing at its best this year, as none of the athletes will be able to train together.

“I just hope that everyone is going to be okay,” girls’ team senior captain Simone Driscoll said. “As for the season, I feel like I may not be able to finish it the same way I wanted to.”

Despite measures put in place by the team to social distance, it is not realistic to run with a mask on, so the entire team has faced the risk of exposure throughout the season.

Athletes are given temperature checks before each practice but without daily testing, it’s impossible to know who might be carrying the virus.

“We’ve been so lucky to have a season so far, we always knew this was a risk so now we just have to be extra cautious and considerate so more people on the team don’t get sick,” team member Emma Johnson said.

COVID is unpredictable. No one on the team blames anyone for the quarantine.

“We don’t blame whoever it was,” runner Mary Crowell said. “It’s probably scary enough to get tested without worrying about if people hate you.”

“Having the warning out there that people could’ve been exposed is good so others can stay safe,” runner Eden Keeney said.

For the next two weeks, or until the correct amount of time has passed to be accurately tested, the girl’s team will be expected to responsibly self-quarantine.

“It’s disappointing but it is the right thing to do,” runner Celia Horowitz said. “We definitely don’t blame whoever it is… we hope everyone will stay safe.”

This goes to show how quickly something can be shut down in response to COVID. If Highland had been holding in-person learning, the number of people confined would likely be multiplied by the dozens. There are roughly 30 girls on the team. If that many people were traveling to four classes a day, the exposure rate would be dramatically higher.

“We love our team even if they put us in quarantine,” junior captain Cora Montgomery said.

The team is responsible and are encouraging each other to stay safe and be smart.

“Let’s make these two weeks our only two weeks,” junior captain Kate Murdock said.