University High School athletes and staff given chance to test out of quarantine

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – COVID exposure from a WVU student at University high School has resulted in several in quarantine and a delay of tryouts for the boy’s basketball and wrestling teams.

On WAJR’s Talk of the Town, Monongalia County Schools Superintendent Eddie Campbell said they were able to augment contact tracing with the use of cameras that are in the gym and weight room.

As a result, 55 student athletes and one coach were oreded to quarantine for 14 days by Campbell and the Mon County Health Department.

After the student assistant reported his positive result officials began calling families as part of contact tracing. However, surveillance footage was used to accurately fill in where memories became unclear. Contact tracers say some have difficulty remembering every place they have been and all the contacts they have made.

“In a classroom situation we don’t have video in all of our classrooms, so we can’t go back and look at the amount of contact an individual had,” Campbell said,” In this particular instance we were able to use that and we did.”

Based on footage from the camera, Campbell says this quarantine order was made with very clear evidence.

“For an hour-and-a-half this individual was in the weight room with these youngsters in constant contact,” Campbell said,” Whether that was within six feet at some times or across the room at other times.”

WVU students work in the k through 12 systen as student teachers, student trainers, coaching assistants and other roles. But, that was suspended for the first semester while Campbell and WVU officials could agree on protocols. Campbell says both sides agreed in writing to require frequent testing and follow strict safety protocols.

“They go through a more stringent process to be able to be in our schools than what we actually put our own professional and service staff through,” Campbell said.

Monongalia County Health Officer Dr. Lee Smith and Campbell have worked together through the investigation and will offer an opportunity for those in quarantine to test their way out.

“He (Dr. Smith) was comfortable with having them going to get a test on Friday morning(February 19),” Campbell said,” He said they’ll have the results back by Friday afternoon or evening and if that test comes back negative they can resume all activities both at school and with the athletic programs.”

Campbell had praise for the team of administrators, along with the health department that developed the COVID action plan and to the teachers, service workers and families who made it work.

“We do not one single case, not one single case where we’ve had spread- person-to-person in any of our school buildings,” Campbell said,” And I think that’s because of the strict protocols we continue to enforce.”

Team tryouts for boy’s basketball and wrestling have been moved to February 24.