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SUNRISE SUMMIT – The sound of cheers echoed off the mountains on Monday morning as the first student athlete in Hampshire County fully recovered from COVID-19.

“Our concern obviously starts with the athlete who tested positive,” said Athletic Director Trey Stewart.

“After receiving word that the student is back and healthy, this situation turns into an opportunity to recognize our program.”

Another positive on the athletic front was the fact all tests came back negative from coaches to players that might have been exposed. 

“All of the tests from the drive-through have come back as negative,” said Stephanie Shoemaker from the Hampshire County Health Department.

“So far everything has been good.”

Last week was nerve-wracking for many families within the athletic community as the spread of coronavirus was simply unknown, however, the mood changed considerably after confirmation of negative tests across the board.

“This has been one of those situations where it worked out exactly how it was drawn up,” said Stewart.

Athletic Trainer Kari Judy echoed those same sentiments.

“Our pods worked as planned,” said Judy.

“We were able to limit the number of athletes who could have possibly been exposed to the positive athlete, trace contacts and areas he had been in the past 14 days at the school, and quarantine as necessary.”

Perhaps one of the reasons the spread was stopped was the decision to cancel all athletic activities for the week.

“The board and I wanted to exercise extreme caution,” explained Superintendent Jeff Pancione. 

After a nervous week waiting for results the athletic community hoped for the best, and to everyone’s delight, the pod concept showed the ability to restrict the spread.

“This is a result of our kids and coaches following the guidelines put in place by the WVSSAC,” Stewart stated. 

Although there are currently no active cases within the student athletes at Hampshire High, the decision was made to shut down athletics for an additional week as well.

“We wanted to error on the side of caution with shutting down athletics for another week,” said Pancione.

“The safety and well being of our students will always be at the forefront of our decision making.”

Stewart agreed with Pancione’s assessment.

“Our county decided to take a few extra steps of precaution by stopping all activity which I believe is a learning opportunity for all as we are in uncharted waters.”

Stewart continued, “I believe this is an opportunity for us to see this can work if guidelines are followed and I have no doubt that the athletes at HHS are in great hands.” o

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