WEST FARGO — West Fargo Sheyenne will miss its next football game after a COVID-19 case was reported on the Mustangs football team.
The varsity and junior varsity squads are quarantined following the positive test of a varsity player. At least 75 student-athletes are sidelined until 11:59 p.m. Oct 2, when the quarantine is lifted.
Sheyenne was slated to play at Grand Forks Central (1-3) at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2. Though it won’t be played this Friday, the Oct. 2 game against the Knights will be played at some point, Sheyenne activities director Greg Limke said. But the makeup date and time isn’t yet known.
The Mustangs have a bye week built in on Oct. 23, following the final game of the regular season. Sheyenne head football coach Jeremy Newton told WDAY-TV's Dom Izzo on Friday he hoped the Sheyenne-Central game could be played on that date.
The Mustangs were set to practice Friday, Sept. 25, but were called off the field after hearing of the positive test, Izzo initially reported Friday night.
West Fargo Public Schools sent a notification to all Sheyenne families and staff Friday afternoon, Sept. 25, stating it had been informed about a positive COVID-19 case in a student-athlete at the high school. The impacted student and Sheyenne administration had begun working with contact tracers from Fargo Cass Public Health and the North Dakota Department of Health at that time to identify any close contacts during the period the student-athlete would’ve been contagious.
“To provide time for the process to be completed with fidelity, football practices were canceled until further notice,” the initial message read.
The district sent a message at 7:59 p.m. Friday to all identified close contacts — the junior varsity and varsity squads. Every member of the Mustangs football team was identified as a close contact to the positive case, the follow-up message said.
“As indicated in the attached letter from FCPH, your child must remain home through October 2, 2020; their first day back onsite is October 5 (or whichever date after 10/2 aligns to the onsite learning days for your child’s cohort),” the message said. “Sheyenne High School will be in touch with you regarding how your child can continue their schoolwork while quarantined.”
In an ensuing message sent at 8:08 p.m. Friday to all Sheyenne families and staff, almost four hours after the initial message, the district said contact tracing was completed and zero close contacts were identified from the academic setting.
In response to the positive case, the district said its custodial team would ensure the deep cleaning, disinfection and sanitization of areas the infected individual may have frequented.
Heather Leas, public relations coordinator for West Fargo Public Schools, said at this time, she was only aware of one positive case on the Sheyenne football team.
The Mustangs can return to the field for practices or competitions Oct. 3. Sheyenne will have missed at least eight days of practice if they resume practicing Oct. 3, and three weeks in between games with the next contest slated for Oct. 9 against Fargo Davies.
Fargo Shanley was sidelined because of a positive COVID-19 test four days earlier on Sept 21. The Deacons had to shut down all team activities following the positive test, and aren’t able to return to the field until Sept. 30.
Shanley (3-1) and Sheyenne (4-0) clashed a few days before the Deacons had to pause all team activities.
The district doesn’t have any details related to where the Sheyenne case may have originated or any potential connection between the two cases on Sheyenne’s and Shanley’s football teams, Leas said.
About a month ago, the Sheyenne boys soccer team had to put practices and games on a brief hold following a positive COVID-19 test.