richard oliver

McKinley football coach Richard Oliver

McKinley High football coach Richard Oliver said the school will stop its conditioning workouts for a 10-day period after learning Friday that a student who had joined the team recently tested positive for COVID-19.

Oliver said the parent’s social media post Friday was the first time the school learned about the student’s positive test.

Later social media posts stating eight McKinley players had tested positive were untrue, he added.

“When I first saw it, I called the mother and asked her why posted on social media, instead of coming to us at the school, because there are procedures we must follow,” Oliver said.

“She told us she was taking him for a COVID test, and we did not know it was a positive test until it was on Facebook.

"After discussions with my principal and athletic director, we decided to shut down workouts this week,” Oliver said. “We are in the process of contacting students and coaches he was in contact with. Coming off the July Fourth holiday, attendance dropped off. The young man was part of a small group.”

The student joined McKinley’s workouts for the first time last week, Oliver said.

The student attended two workouts, was screened with a temperature check and health questions on those days, he said. The student was sent home another day because he arrived too late to participate, Oliver said.

“We are shutting things down for 10 days so that the weight room can again be thoroughly sanitized,” McKinley principal Esrom Pitre said. “We have informed the school district, the school nurse supervisor and will follow all additional protocol moving forward.

“The coaches are reaching out to players and their families. We want to be as proactive as possible.”

Based on East Baton Rouge Parish Schools guidelines for summer workouts that began June 8, players at McKinley and other schools are not allowed in locker rooms and must provide their own water or sports drinks each day.

Oliver said McKinley players used the school's weight room and track facilities and are instructed to leave campus once workouts end.

Other schools in various parts of the state have halted workouts for different amounts of time after confirming positive tests for a student-athlete or coach in multiple sports. Schools are not required to report cases or workout stoppages because, according to its bylaws, the LHSAA does not govern summer workouts. Fall practice rules begin Aug. 10.

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