Belfast Area High School has suspended its sports programs and all extracurricular activities for a week due to an outbreak of COVID-19 in Waldo County.
Belfast athletic director Matt Battani said the school shut down activities scheduled for last Friday because 11 new coronavirus cases were reported in Waldo County. It has continued the suspension of sports this week.
According to Village Soup, Mount View High School in Thorndike and Searsport District High School also have postponed contests against outside competition for this week. Mount View will continue to hold practices and Searsport canceled practices on Monday but plans to resume on Tuesday.
There aren’t any COVID-19 cases at Belfast High School, according to Battani, but one of its coaches is under quarantine after being exposed to someone with COVID-19 and another coach was experiencing symptoms but had yet to be tested.
Neither of the coaches teaches at Belfast High School. One is at another school and the other doesn’t work at a school.
There have been three cases in RSU 71, one at the Troy A. Howard Middle School in Belfast and one each at two Waldo County elementary schools.
Battani is hoping Belfast High athletic teams can return to action next Monday. He noted that Waldo County has gone from six COVID-19 cases a week ago to 46 as of Monday.
“That is very alarming,” he said.
Of those cases, 39 have come over the last four days with a majority emanating from outbreaks at the Brooks Pentecostal Church and its affiliated school, Lighthouse Christian Academy in Brooks.
Battani said Belfast teams have been working out since July, following all Maine Principals’ Association guidelines, and that none of their student-athletes have contracted the coronavirus.
He said his coaches and student-athletes have done a tremendous job adhering to the social distancing guidelines and other safety protocols established by the state and the MPA.
“It has been a real good season so far and we want to get back to it as soon as we can. But we have to reduce the exposure as much as possible,” he said.
Belfast High School is operating with a hybrid plan for its academics and won’t shut down because of the COVID-19 cases, but the middle school and the two elementary schools have been shut down for a few days in order to disinfect them.