The Waverly-Shell Rock athletic director told Waverly Newspapers Monday morning that the baseball and softball seasons will continue as planned despite the possible minimal exposure to a COVID-19-positive opponent.
Cedar Falls High School announced Sunday night that one of its softball players, as well as a baseball player, has tested positive for the coronavirus. The Tigers defeated the Go-Hawks, 11-0, Wednesday night in a softball game at W-SR High School.
Dave Litterer, the W-SR AD, said that C.F. High officials contacted him about the athletes, and he had investigated the situation here.
“Based on our guidelines, we are just continuing where we are at with our season and not going to be changing anything,” Litterer said by phone Monday. “We’re still going to be playing.”
The Go-Hawk softball team had not played a varsity contest since Wednesday. They were scheduled to host Waukon Friday night, but that game was postponed reportedly to July 8 due to a threat of thunderstorms. As a result, the contest with Sumner-Fredericksburg/Tripoli was moved up to 10 a.m. that day.
Monday, W-SR was scheduled to travel to Oelwein to face the Huskies, followed by a trip to New Hampton Tuesday and hosting Decorah on Wednesday.
The varsity baseball team had not faced Cedar Falls this season, although the junior varsity played Friday morning against the Tigers. Litterer said the infected baseball player was not involved in that game.
“We can communicate, and we feel like we’ve done a good job to continue to do our processes of limiting exposures,” Litterer said. “The guidelines — you talk to the health department — we work directly with our athletic trainer and also in communication with the doctors he works with at Waverly Health Center.
“We have said it has to be a long, like a 15-minute time period with the same period before anybody’s really been heavily exposed.”
He also contacted the two umpires who oversaw the JV/varsity doubleheader that happened Wednesday, and he said everyone else involved with the contest has been made aware of the situation.
According to media reports, the Tiger programs have been suspended for the rest of the regular season, as guidelines from the Iowa High School Athletic Association and Iowa Girls’ High School Athletic Union suggest athletes contracting or exposed to the virus be quarantined or self-isolated for 10-14 days.
C.F. Athletic Director Troy Becker said that other players are being tested. The Tigers could be able to play in softball regionals and baseball substate competition if they are cleared by the IHSAA, IGHSAU and the Black Hawk County Health Department.
With the onset of the pandemic, the state’s governing bodies have set up protocols to be followed at games to minimize exposure to the virus. They include sanitizing all equipment before, during and after use, players staying 6 feet from each other as possible, which includes extending the dugout, and the elimination of post-game handshakes.
Other measures include the defensive team being the only ones to handle the baseballs and softballs and not the umpires. In fact, spectators are encouraged not to even catch foul balls and let the players be the only ones to touch them.
There is also a list of protocol questions that coaches must ask their players, and signs are posted advising spectators not to attend if they have any symptoms of COVID-19, which include a fever of at least 100.4 degrees, dry cough and shortness of breath.
“I sanitize everything every day that anybody could potentially be touching,” Litterer said. “We’re going to move forward with our season. The exposure was not to the point where we need to close our season down because we played (Cedar Falls).
“We’re doing all of the precautions we started the year out with. We’ve communicated with people on it. We’re being as proactive as we can about it.”