Hamblen County Task Force discusses Hispanic outreach efforts

Practices for the West High football team have been cancelled through the end of the week and the entire team has been encouraged to quarantine after four players tested positive for COVID-19, Dr. Jeff Perry, Hamblen County school superintendent, said.

School officials halted practices last Thursday after a football player tested positive. Perry said last week that parents had been alerted and as a precaution several took their children to get tested.

He said more players on the team have been tested and are waiting on results.

Perry said the decision has been made to suspend practices for the rest of the week. The team has also been encouraged to self isolate for 10 days, retroactive to last Thursday.

“It will allow everybody time to recover,” Perry said.

He said school officials are working on plans for the rest of the upcoming school year. Perry said a decision will be made by Friday concerning immediate games.

“That does not mean football season has been cancelled,” he said.

In the last week, the number of active cases have apparently stabilized within the county as Hamblen County Mayor Bill Brittain issued a mask mandate a week ago. The number of cases have hovered between 472 to 490 with a peak on Aug. 1 of 512 active cases.

Hamblen County has recorded 14 deaths due to COVID-19 since the pandemic started in March and the majority of those deaths have occured within the last month.

On Monday, the state reported that Hamblen County had a total of 472 active cases, the lowest number in weeks.

Perry announced two weeks ago that school had been delayed from its initial July 31 opening until after Labor Day on Sept. 8 as the school system waits on a shipment of laptops in order to make sure all students are ready for online learning if needed.

Perry is expected to give more details on school reopening plans as well as plans for fall athletics tonight during the Hamblen County school board meeting.