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Cochrane-Fountain City AD says playing sports without students in class 'irresponsible'
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PREP SPORTS | COCHRANE-FOUNTAIN CITY

Cochrane-Fountain City AD says playing sports without students in class 'irresponsible'

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After it was discovered four Cochrane-Fountain City students had tested positive for COVID-19, the C-FC School District announced Sept. 4 that 9th-12 grade students would be moving to remote learning full time until Sept. 21.

That decision will have a direct impact on sports, as full remote learning also means no school activities of any kind until Sept. 21.

“We are 100% virtual for the next two weeks,” Activities Director Lance Litchfield said. “So it would be irresponsible to actually have sports going on when it’s not safe to have kids at school.

“... I know everyone loves sports and I love sports too, but it’s not sports-then-school. It’s always school and sports. They’re student-athletes.”

The district originally planned to move forward with a hybrid plan in early August but, after being informed by the Buffalo County Health and Human Services that the county was considered to be at a ‘Low Risk’ level for COVID-19, the district decided to move forward with in-class learning five days a week when school started on Aug. 27. At that point, the county had been considered ‘Low Risk’ for two weeks.

But just one week later, C-FC announced four students had tested positive for COVID-19. All four of these cases originated outside of school and there has been no spread within the school according to a statement on the school’s website.

Cases have been surging in nearby Winona County with the return of college students at Winona State. As of Thursday, the University announced they have had 209 positive tests. They installed a 14-day quarantine on Tuesday after the long Labor Day weekend, moving all classes online.

Like every Wisconsin school, C-FC had the option to move fall sports to the spring as part of the WIAA’s alternative fall sports plan. But their conference — the Dairyland — decided as a collective group to move forward with fall sports just because the spring is such a big unknown.

“The whole premise behind it is we don’t know what the spring is going to look like,” Litchfield said. “They’re telling people not to do anything if you’re feeling ill. So if you are sick with a fever or anything like that you’re not supposed to go to places. Unfortunately, what happens in November, December, January, February? Everyone gets a little sniffles, a little cough.”

The Dairyland Conference did announce Thursday they will limit attendance to four tickets per athlete at its events this fall, according to a press release from the league. Masks will be required for all in attendance.

But for now all C-FC can do is wait as they hope to resume Sept. 21.

“Hopefully we are able to get back on Sept. 21,” Litchfield said. “Just as long as Buffalo County says that it’s OK for us to be in school. We have to be in school. In order to practice, in order to play, we have to be in school.”

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