Homer High athletes test positive for COVID-19

Volleyball, football programs affected, with some team members quarantining. Saturday football game in Eagle River is still on.

The Homer High School football and volleyball programs have members who tested positive for COVID-19, according to a letter sent out to students, parents and staff from Principal Douglas Waclawski on Thursday. Contact tracing has been done and some members who tested positive or are close contacts will be quarantining for the eight-day required period.

The Mariner football team has lost several players because of quarantining, but has enough to play at Eagle River at 3 p.m. Saturday, said Homer High School Athletic Director Chris Perk. He did not say how players have quarantined, but did say it was minimal.

“It’s game on,” he said in an interview on Friday.

The Mariner volleyball team doesn’t have a game scheduled until next weekend.

Waclawski wrote in his letter that new protocols apply depending on if a person is vaccinated or unvaccinated.

“If you are vaccinated, then you don’t have to quarantine,” Perk said.

Since some team members have quarantined, that means they were not vaccinated. Perk said teams do not track who has been vaccinated, and that would only be information provided to health care providers or contact tracers.

Perk said the football coaches have been doing a good job trying to keep COVID-19 from infecting the team.

“They can spread out. They’re aware how to minimize close contact on the team,” he said.

Perk said the athletic department isn’t making any special push to get players vaccinated.

“Obviously, I’m telling them the facts,” he said. “If your kids are vaccinated, they wouldn’t have to quarantine.”

He also noted that having more players vaccinated means fewer disruptions to the team. Vaccines are available to children 12 and older, but require parental consent for those younger than 18.

Athletic testing protocols go into effect on Monday, with weekly antigen testing for all athletes, Perk said.

In his letter, Waclawski wrote that people who notice symptoms of illness should stay home and get a test. For more information, he said parents or students can call the school at 907-235-8186. They also can visit the school district COVID-19 website at covid19.kpbsd.org.

Reach Michael Armstrong at marmstrong@homernews.com.