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Board votes down quick quarantine

Board votes down quick quarantine Board votes down quick quarantine

The Stratford Board of Education batted down a proposal to defy Marathon County’s COVID-19 quarantine guidelines and prematurely end a quarantine for nine high school varsity boy’s basketball players at Sunday night’s special emergency meeting. School board president Chris Dickinson made a motion to end a COVID-19 quarantine for nine of the 15 varsity boy’s basketball players so they could return to school on Monday, but the other school board members chose not to second his motion. The motion died for lack of a second.

Scott Winch, schools superintendent, discovered on Thursday one of the Westfield varsity boy’s basketball players had tested positive for COVID-19 since Stratford scrimmaged against Westfield last Tuesday, Dec. 1. Curt Schmidt, Stratford varsity boy’s basketball coach, identified nine of his 15 players who were within six feet of the Westfield player who tested positive for COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes during the scrimmage. Stratford’s first four games this season were postponed. Their season was supposed to start- Thursday at Prentice.

Stratford varsity boy’s basketball parents Travis Skroch and Tim Miller spoke at Sunday’s last-minute school board meeting about their displeasure with the nine varsity boys basketball players being quarantined. Both parents had watched a videotape of the scrimmage. Skroch told the school board his son was within six feet of the Westfield player who tested positive for COVID-19 well under 15 minutes, while Miller said his son played wing and both teams played zone defense, therefore his son couldn’t have come within six feet of the Westfield player who tested positive for COVID- 19.

Dickinson said the Mosinee Board of Education decided at its meeting last week to only follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shortened COVID-19 quarantines, instead of the more lengthy Marathon County Health Department and Wisconsin Department of Health and Safety’s COVID-19 quarantines. The Mosinee school board’s decision is now moot, because on Monday the county and state health departments adopted the CDC’s new COVID-19 quarantine guidelines.

Judy Burrows, public information officer at the Marathon County Health Department, said a person quarantined for 14 days after coming into close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 is still the safest option, but now there are two more options available. She said the first option that she termed safer is for people who didn’t get tested for COVID- 19 to be released from their quarantine after 10 days are over, as long as they aren’t showing any symptoms. Burrows said the second option, which she called safe but riskier, is for a person who takes a COVID-19 test on the fifth, sixth or seventh day after being exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 to have their quarantine end after the seventh day, as long as the person tested negative for COVID-19 and isn’t showing any symptoms.

Stratford school board members questioned at Sunday night’s meeting why the Marathon County Health Department has been inconsistent in enforcing quarantines for sports teams. For example, the school board members said Stratford’s junior varsity football team didn’t get quarantined this fall after a player on an opposing team tested positive for COVID-19. Burrows said the county was doing a great job of contact tracing in fall, which is likely the reason why Stratford’s junior varsity football team wasn’t quarantined.

She said the county’s caseload of positive COVID-19 cases has increased so much that it quit contact tracing, which is why now a “blanket approach” is used to quarantine high school sports teams.

Stratford varsity boy’s basketball players who didn’t get tested for COVID-19 on Monday, which was their fifth day in quarantine, will see their 10-day quarantine end this Saturday, Dec. 12.

The team will play its first game this season on Monday, Dec. 14 at Mosinee.

Travis Skroch

Tim Miller