REGION – A “rapid uptick” in COVID-19 cases has forced Algonquin Regional High School to ban student spectators from a slate of basketball games against Shrewsbury, tonight.
Shrewsbury, meanwhile, has postponed a game against Algonquin that it was scheduled to host.
Algonquin Principal Sean Bevan addressed this in an email to school community members shortly after 2 p.m. today.
“I recognize how enjoyable our athletic events can be,” he wrote. “However, it is critical that we do everything we can to keep students and staff safe and healthy; limiting fans at athletic events is one mitigation strategy we can employ to try to ensure in-person instruction is not disrupted.”
Adult family members and siblings of players will be able to attend the Algonquin games, provided that they comply with masking requirements.
A planned winter concert, likewise, will go on as scheduled, Bevan added, explaining that spacing in the Algonquin auditorium “prevents the type of crowding that we typically see at athletic events.”
Bevan said that district staff had been notified earlier today of ten new positive cases among Algonquin students. The district, likewise, was awaiting test results from “several others.”
Algonquin had previously seen 75 total cases in the current school year according to a Dec. 15 update to the school district’s COVID-19 data dashboard.
There were five new cases at Algonquin between Dec. 9 and Dec. 15 before the district noted 10 cases today.
This batch of new cases comes amid growing anxiety about the Omicron variant of COVID-19, which has contributed to a spike in cases throughout the region and the country, experts say.
Speaking shortly after Bevan’s email circulated, Algonquin Athletic Director Michael Mocerino addressed these new precautions in comments to the Community Advocate.
“We’re hoping that we can return back to normal moving forward,” he said.
Mocerino noted that the postponed girls basketball game will be rescheduled, though he said he said that new date had not yet been chosen.
“We’ll try to get that in as soon as possible so that it doesn’t effect the schedule too much,” Mocerino said.
Bevan said the school is “evaluating our ability for students to attend future athletic events,” adding that he would “share that information as soon as it’s made available.”