WaHi Football Cancellation

Walla Walla High School running back Jakob Humphrey stretches for extra yardage during the Blue Devils’ game with Kamiakin, March 5, 2021. The team’s game against Hanford High School scheduled for Tuesday, March 30, has been canceled because a Wa-Hi player has tested positive for COVID-19.

A Walla Walla High School football player has tested positive for COVID-19, according to officials, prompting the school to cancel its game against Hanford High School that was set for Tuesday, March 30.

The student tested positive in connection with a family-related exposure, according to the report. However, he did have contact with his teammates on Friday, March 26. As a result, all members of the varsity and junior varsity football teams, as well as the cheer team, have been placed under quarantine until they can be tested Wednesday, March 31, officials said.

Superintendent Wade Smith confirmed that this includes about 80 students.

“The state Department of Health and the testing guidelines require five days between exposure and testing to ensure testing reliability,” Smith said. “The players were potentially exposed on Friday, so we are arranging free testing for those 80 students at the high school on Wednesday.”

Smith said students who test negative can resume schooling on Thursday morning, April 1.

And although these students were on campus Monday, Smith said their classmates do not need to be quarantined at this point because they did not have close contact with the players.

“Remember, students aren’t in close contact with classmates because they remain socially distanced and masked,” Smith said. “The only reason these (80) students were deemed close contact is because of the high-risk activity of cheer and football.”

Walla Walla County Public Health Officer Dr. Daniel Kaminsky confirmed to the U-B on Tuesday that the district has been in contact and has been following guidelines for schools established by the state.

Walla Walla Athletic Director Dirk Hansen said in a release that the canceled game won’t be made up.

“Unfortunately, this game will not be rescheduled due to the WIAA-shortened season schedule and practice limitations,” said Hansen, referring to Washington Interscholastic Activities Association rules. “We feel terrible for our student-athletes, families and coaches who have worked so hard during these challenging times. Their safety remains our top priority.”

Jeremy Burnham can be reached at jeremyburnham@wwub.com or 509-526-8321.

Reporter

Jeremy covers education, as well as Dayton and Columbia County, for the Union-Bulletin. He graduated from Eastern Washington University in 2019 with a degree in journalism.