COVID-19 leads Canyon High to cancel football season opener

Eyezik (cq) Ruppert (83), left, and Dominic Burton (6) go for a pass during practice at Canyon High on Tuesday, 081021. Dan Watson/The Signal

Canyon High School announced Friday afternoon that it had cancelled its season-opening varsity football game against Canoga Park High as it waited on COVID-19 test results from close contacts of a student-athlete who had tested positive earlier this week. 

In an email to Canyon High School families Friday, Shellie Holcombe, the school’s principal, said the decision was made “out of an abundance of caution,” following a series of events triggered by one Canyon High School student athlete’s positive COVID-19 test result. 

That test result prompted the school to conduct contact tracing to identify “close contacts” to the athlete who tested positive. 

“We had several student athletes tested, hoping that negative results would arrive in time for us to safely return everyone to the playing field,” Holcombe wrote, noting the action was in accordance with Los Angeles County Department of Public Health guidelines. “Unfortunately, we have not received the results (Friday). Therefore, without this confirmation, we have made the necessary decision to cancel the game.” 

Holcombe said that the school “followed all the proper guidelines and protocols,” including notifying students and families affected by the positive COVID-19 case. 

“The county health order calls for us to assign quarantines differently depending upon whether students are vaccinated or not,” she wrote. “According to the health order, vaccinated close contacts who are asymptomatic may return to the classroom. Non-vaccinated close contacts must quarantine for 10 days, with the opportunity to test on day seven.”   

She asked parents to encourage their children to avoid spreading incorrect information about the positive test result and game cancellation, noting “this is the kind of news that generates exaggerated rumors and false information.” 

Holcombe looked to the following week and concluded her message on an optimistic note. 

“I remain hopeful that those test results will arrive soon and we will be able to officially return to the gridiron next week,” she wrote. 

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