▶️ BLS approves return of vaccinated student athletes after COVID exposures

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Positive COVID cases within the Mountain View and Bend High football programs are causing ripple effects into their barely started season.

A jamboree in Redmond has already been canceled and their first game might be at risk.

“We were notified this weekend that we had positive COVID cases with three players on the team,” said Bend High head football coach Matt Craven.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the district notified Deschutes County Health Department and their recommendation was to shutdown the program for two weeks of quarantine.”

After multiple meetings and reviews, that recommendation changed.

“If there is an exposure, asymptomatic vaccinated individuals do not need to quarantine and those who are not vaccinated do need to quarantine,” Craven added.

The decision was made by the Bend-La Pine School district.

“Per our plans, which are informed by local, state and federal guidance, fully vaccinated, asymptomatic players and coaching staff are allowed to continue to practice,” said Bend-La Pine Schools’ Director of Safety and Communication Julianne Repman.

“These players and coaches must declare vaccine status, which will be verified with a state database.

“Additionally, athletes who have tested positive for COVID within the last 90 days do not need to quarantine as long as they are asymptomatic. The diagnosis will be verified with the health department.”

Athletes had to show their vaccination cards to the school district for review Tuesday morning.

Those players can practice as soon as vaccination status is confirmed, but unvaccinated players have to remain quarantined until August 24.

Of the 70 current Bend High football players, Craven says only a little less than half are vaccinated.

“We knew we were going to have to overcome big issues, and I think this is the first big issue the district has had to face with this delta variant and there is definitely going to be more difficult decisions down the road,” Craven said.

The Mountain View football program had two players test positive for COVID-19, and head coach Brian Crum is taking a different approach, holding optional film sessions and practices.

“We’ve got families and players in all types of different situations and people feel strongly one way or another and so we are trying to create a balance of what that is,” Crum said.

“We are trying to make sure we can meet the players where they are. Let them make their decisions with their families.”

Right now, both coaches feel optimistic that their players will have enough required practices to compete in their first game.

“We are not the first team dealing with this and we are definitely not the last team that is going to have to deal with this,” Craven said.

The Bend Lava Bears have their season opener scheduled for September 3, at home against Grants Pass.

The Mountain View Cougars start their season on the road against Century.

Both games start at 7 p.m.

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