It's the first game week for varsity high school football in Minnesota and already at least three teams won't be able to play due to a player testing positive for COVID-19.
Joel Swanson, head coach of the Kasson-Mantorville KoMets, provided a statement to Bring Me The News explaining why his team's first game this Saturday against Mankato East has been canceled.
"We had a player who was out at one practice and then tested positive for COVID. Because we were following guidelines we did not have all of our ninth- through 12th-grade players on the same field, but we had another COVID incidence that occurred over the previous weekend," Swanson said.
"Thus, all of the player's position coaches are in quarantine and all of the players that were on the field for an extended amount of time with the player is in quarantine. When in doubt, we aired on the side of caution and said we would quarantine the person for 14 days, including myself."
While Kasson-Mantorville is out of at least one game, their opponent, Mankato East, was fortunate enough to be able to reschedule and begin the season this week against Worthington.
"One game to give up for the safety of all of our players, coaches, their families, opponents and the community. It is tough on the players but it is a no-brainer in the big picture of life," said Swanson.
"Another lesson in life and we continue to adjust and adapt. I am sure there will be quite a few other COVID breakouts from teams as the year continues."
Kasson-Mantorville High School is located in Dodge County, where the county's public health department has so far tracked 291 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 241 of which are cases that are no longer requiring isolation. No patients in Dodge County are currently hospitalized.
Another school that announced the cancellation of its opening game is St. Agnes (St. Paul), who was set to face Concordia Academy on Saturday. Concordia Academy announced on Twitter that St. Agnes informed them that they "have multiple varsity football players quarantined due to COVID-19 and have been without several football coaches as well."
So as of this writing, Kasson-Mantorville, St. Agnes and Concordia Academy won't play this week.
Thursday will be a big day for many high school sports teams as the Minnesota Department of Health's weekly report featuring county infection rates per 10,000 residents will be released. Any county that is above the threshold (50-plus cases per 10,000 residents) is advised to move to 100% distance learning and postpone all sporting events.
You can find the latest report with county infection rates right here.