The Homer Lady Mariners softball team had to cancel a planned trip and game in Kodiak last Saturday after a player tested positive for COVID-19 in routine screening. Softball coach Bill Bell, also a physician at Homer Medical Clinic, said the girl showed no symptoms and is fine.
That put the team into quarantine for five days. The Mariners will resume play with a game today.
“The good news is it’s early enough it won’t affect our playing in regions,” Bell said. “It’s kind of a blessing.”
While Homer High School officials could not identify if a student or staff member tested positive, in a letter to parents on May 13, Principal Douglas Waclawski confirmed that someone in the school community tested positive. He wrote that officials did not know of any in-school transmission and that contact tracing had been completed.
“It does bring home the idea that COVID is in our community and it’s still running around,” Bell said. “It’s fortunate it was in a group (young people) doing quite well.”
Under current Kenai Peninsula School District guidelines, a 14-day quarantine can be shortened if there are no symptoms of illness and end after 10 days. Patients also can test out of quarantine if they show no signs of illness on day six after exposure and have a negative COVID-19 test. They can return to school and activities outside the home on day eight after exposure.
Anyone fully vaccinated does not have to quarantine. In his letter, Waclawski especially encouraged students involved in sports to get vaccinated “so they do not have to quarantine if they are a close contact,” he wrote.
Bell said not everyone on the softball team has been fully vaccinated. The approval last week of the Pfizer vaccine for children 12 and older means all high school students and many middle school students can get vaccinated. If everyone on the team had been vaccinated, “we would have just charged on,” Bell said.
The Mariner varsity softball team plays at 4 p.m. and the junior varsity team at 6 p.m. today vs. Soldotna High School in Soldotna. At 9 a.m. Friday and Saturday the team competes in the softball tournament at Jack Gist Park in Homer.
Bell said with the games off campus at Jack Gist, not everyone knows of the softball games. He encouraged people to come out and cheer on the Mariner girls.
“I admire their perseverance,” Bell said of the recent pandemic challenge.
Reach Michael Armstrong at firstname.lastname@example.org.