School officials in Sanders and Mineral counties are closely monitoring a resurgent wave of the Covid-19 virus and its high-profile Delta strain as the specter of canceled or postponed school events altered schedules last weekend.
One of the first and most stringent measures came from the Plains School District, which reverted to at least temporary distance learning situations for students in grades 9 to 12.
The district also took immediate action and canceled or postponed all “extracurricular activities” until Monday, September 20. The move affected the scheduled home football game against Flint Creek and several volleyball games.
Home games against Troy last week and Eureka next weekend have been removed from the schedule. Road games were also held on September 11 against Missoula Loyola and Bigfork on September 16. The cross country team did not participate in the Flathead Invite on September 10.
At that time, the next volleyball game would be a home game on September 21 against Noxon.
A statement from the Plains School District on their website states, “Due to the recent spike in Covid-19 cases and the long list of wanted students, as of Monday, September 13, PHS students in grades 9 through Grade 12 will use distance learning. “
The statement stressed that the changes apply to “grades 9 to 12 ONLY” and that kindergarten to grade eight will still be on campus to learn and participate in extracurricular activities. “
Schools in Thompson Falls have also prepared precautionary measures if the number of Covid cases continues to rise. These precautions were based on a confirmed case involving a high school staff member.
“The staff member’s last day of school attendance was Thursday, September 9,” an article said on the school district’s website. “If any students or staff are at risk of exposure, the Sanders County Health Department will be in contact with that person to determine a safe and appropriate course of action.
“It is always recommended that anyone who feels ill or ill to consult their doctor for specific instructions. Stay safe, the ad concluded.
A home football game scheduled for Thompson Falls on Friday night went as planned, although the start of the game was delayed by an hour while school officials waited for thick smoke from the wildfires to create temporary dangerous breathing conditions to dissipate.
In addition, the Blue Hawks volleyball team went to Deer Lodge over the weekend and played as scheduled. There was no immediate word on whether a match scheduled for later that same day at Anaconda had gone as planned.
Schools in Noxon took a similar approach to that in Thompson Falls, advising those feeling ill to seek advice from their health care provider after Sanders County health officials confirmed that a student who was in contact with a confirmed Covid-19 patient had been informed of possible exposure.
A volleyball match scheduled for Saturday night at Noxon against St. Regis went on as scheduled, although the start time was moved forward by one hour as no JV matches took place.
A similar situation existed in Hot Springs where a student, who is also a member of the volleyball team, was identified as having had possible exposure contact with a Covid-positive individual.
Because only seven players have turned up for volleyball this year at Hot Springs, their scheduled volleyball game was called off last weekend. Covid’s contact measure, coupled with a previous injury to one of the players, would have left the team with just five active players.
Six players are needed for each volleyball team.
Elsewhere, there was no report of a scheduled volleyball game between Superior and Charlo to be held in Charlo on Saturday night.
Sports fans who support teams at any of the six schools in Sanders and Mineral County can contact the school if they have questions about scheduled events or Covid protocols.