Oneonta became the second Alabama high school in two days to quarantine its entire football team due to COVID-19 concerns.
Head coach Phil Phillips told AL.com on Tuesday that 42 of his players will be quarantined for 14 days. St. Luke’s Episcopal in Mobile announced the same measure for its team on Wednesday night.
Phillips said Oneonta had a player throw up in the locker room on Wednesday. He said that player was sent home, everything was cleaned and practice continued.
Before a second practice later in the day, Phillips said he had a pair of players with temperatures above 101. They had chills and were throwing up. He also has had one middle school player test positive and another player with symptoms.
“We are quarantined based on our school nurse, principal and superintendent in communication with the health department,” he said. “We are going to do everything by the rules here. I know there are coaches not doing it. I talked to three last night, but I’ve told our kids that their future is more important to me right now than playing football.”
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Phillips said his team would not practice again until Aug. 18. He said his team would not be able to play its first two games at Cleveland (Aug. 21) or at home against Hayden (Aug. 28) and its Class 4A, Region 6 opener at Etowah on Sept. 4 is in jeopardy.
“We’ll do zoom meetings and things like that in the meantime,” Phillips said. “Right now, we are just crossing our fingers and hoping no one develops more symptoms. One parent called me this morning to let me know they were taking their child to the doctor. Football, installation, all that stuff is on the backburner right now. I hate it for the kids, the seniors especially, who are all just in limbo right now.”
Oneonta already shut down football workouts twice this summer. Phillips said the Redskins had two coaches and four players test positive prior to this week. He currently has one positive test and is waiting results on three more tests. He also said the Oneonta band is in the middle of a 14-day quarantine.
“My hope is still that the state will do what is right and push the season back a few weeks,” he said. “Let the kids go to school and see what happens. Even if we don’t have championships, that is OK. I don’t think it will happen, but I wish it would. I’ve shared my concerns with my athletic director (Keith Bender), who is also chairman of the Central Board.”
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The AHSAA’s Central Board approved an on-time return to play last month.
Phillips said Oneonta students are scheduled to return to in-person school on Aug. 13 for four days a week. School will be virtual on Mondays.