Aug. 5, 2020 Update, 8:51 a.m.:
Superintendent of Schools Mark Garceau announced Tuesday night that players who had been in contact with two Westerly High School players who tested positive for COVID-19 are required to quarantine for two weeks.
In the message, sent at 10:03 p.m. through blackboard.com, an electronic education service used for distance learning, Garceau also said other groups that had been effected by a suspension of conditioning practices were able to resume their activities. The quarantine effecting the football players is required "per the state Department of Health," according to Garceau's message.
This is a developing story. Check back for additional updates and new information.
WESTERLY — Supervised fall sports conditioning sessions have been put on hold after two student-athletes tested positive for COVID-19.
Superintendent of Schools Mark Garceau informed families whose children attend the public school system on Tuesday afternoon that the conditioning drills, which had started within the past week, were suspended. Garceau learned of the positive test results Tuesday morning after receiving a message from Westerly High School Athletic Director Jamey Vetelino.
During an interview Garceau said the two athletes are Westerly High School football players. The age and class of the students were unclear. The condition of the students was also unclear.
The conditioning sessions did not involve contact, and social-distancing measures were followed, Garceau said. The Westerly High School marching band, which had started outdoor practices about two weeks ago, will also not practice following the two positive tests.
School officials are concerned about reports of "large parties or gatherings" that students attended over the weekend, Garceau said. The two students who tested positive both held summer jobs "at the beach," Garceau said.
"We are being told, while it would be impossible to say with absolute certainty, that these students likely came into contact with the virus at their summer jobs, not as a result of participating in the conditioning sessions," Garceau said in his message to families.
School officials notified the state Department of Health and have prepared information that could be used by state officials to conduct contact tracing, Garceau said.
Garceau described the decision to suspend the practices as a "temporary pause" that will allow time to determine whether the two students are isolated cases or part of a larger flare-up. The conditioning sessions could resume in a few days depending on what is learned, he said.
Garceau's announcement came less than a day after a shoreline restaurant, Misquamicut Sandwich Co., announced it was closing temporarily because an employee had been in contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19.
According to an announcement on the restaurant's Facebook page, owners Bill and Katie Beattie were informed by an employee Sunday night that the employee had been in touch with a local person who tested positive for COVID-19. The Beatties said, in the announcement, that they and the employee did not have symptoms of the virus but have been tested and expect to receive test results in 3-5 days.
The restaurant will only reopen once all returning staff members test negative, the message said. The announcement elicited dozens of messages of support. The Beatties could not be reached for comment for this article.
This article was edited at 1:18 p.m. on Aug. 5, 2020 to clarify where the two players who tested positive worked.