In this August 2019 photo, Foxcroft Academy head football coach Danny White gives instructions to Logan Martin during a practice at the school. The school is allowing its athletes to resume workouts on Monday after two positive COVID-19 cases were found in the community earlier this month. Credit: Foxcroft Academy photo

Foxcroft Academy is set to resume its preparations for the fall sports season on Monday, nearly two weeks after two students participating in a summer conditioning program at the Dover-Foxcroft school tested positive for COVID-19.

“I was waiting to see how big the spread was, to see if any other students had tested positive, and that didn’t happen,” Foxcroft head of school Arnold Shorey said of the decision to re-institute the workouts.

Foxcroft Academy was hosting a voluntary summer conditioning program sanctioned by the Maine Principals’ Association, in part to help student-athletes regain any physical conditioning lost when the spring 2020 interscholastic sports season was cancelled.

The conditioning workouts were suspended on Aug. 11 due to concerns that someone involved may have contracted COVID-19. Confirmation came a day later came that two students who participated in the school’s summer program tested positive.

“Understand, recent events were not caused by a student contracting the virus on campus,” Shorey said. “The stoppage was necessary to help control possible community spread, which seems to be the case.

“Through this experience, we have gained valuable knowledge as we most surely will be dealing with the start, the stop, and the re-start of school and athletics due to positive cases,” he said.

Dover-Foxcroft is the shiretown of Piscataquis County, which has Maine’s lowest number of coronavirus cases (seven) and its lowest infection rate — 4.2 per 10,000 people, according to state statistics.

Foxcroft Academy student-athletes will begin the fourth and final phase of the MPA’s summer conditioning program on Monday. Fall sports tryouts are set to begin Sept. 8 and the first games of the fall sports season could be held Sept. 18 or later.

“Our sincere belief is that athletics provide needed structured activity while following current CDC guidelines under the tutelage of well-advised coaches during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Shorey said. “It is my feeling that our students are much better off being involved with Foxcroft Academy athletics than having no structured activity and having free time where safety guidelines aren’t always followed.”

The MPA is expected to announce on Thursday, Aug. 27 whether the state’s fall interscholastic sports season will proceed as scheduled, be held in limited fashion with only lower-risk sports, or be cancelled altogether.

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Ernie Clark

Ernie Clark is a veteran sportswriter who has worked with the Bangor Daily News for more than a decade. A four-time Maine Sportswriter of the Year as selected by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters...