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Oxford High coach says an athlete has tested positive for COVID-19

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The Oxford Yellow Jackets are ready to go. Kirsten Fiscus / The Anniston Star

Count Oxford among the high schools to see an athlete test positive for COVID-19 during summer workouts.

The athlete in question has not participated in workouts since June 17, and the school learned of the athlete’s positive test Thursday.

Oxford head football coach Keith Etheredge said the school has not had to suspend summer workouts. This week, which surrounds July 4, was scheduled as an off week, and Oxford athletes plan to return, as scheduled, July 6.

Oxford was to hold voluntary workouts this week, from 8-10 a.m., but canceled those.

Privacy laws prevent school officials from naming the athlete in question publicly or revealing specific information, including gender.

“We did have an athlete test positive, but the thing is, it’s going to start happening,” Etheredge said. “A lot of different people has had it. …

“I think everybody is starting to see it now. I’ll be honest with you, I’d rather it happen now than right before we start playing.”

Summer workouts mark the resumption of team activities after the Alabama High School Athletic Association halted spring sports in mid-March. The downtime came amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced a nationwide shutdown of economic and sports activities across the spectrum.

Economic and sports activities began resuming in early June, but COVID-19 cases have spiked in several states in the past two weeks. Alabama has seen a resurgence.

Saks announced suspension of summer workouts late Thursday night, after an athlete tested positive. Glencoe, Ragland, Lincoln and Cherokee County took similar measures, as have other schools around the state.

Oxford, a Class 6A school by enrollment-based criteria, has had only one athlete test positive out of more than 100 athletes participating in workouts across multiple sports, Etheredge said.

“We’ve told the kids, if you have a fever, don’t come,” he said. “If you have any symptoms, or anything, don’t come.

“We’ve been taking temperatures every day when they come in with every one of our kids, and we haven’t had to send anyone home yet.”

Recommended guidelines say athletes with a temperature of 100 or more should stay or be sent home. Oxford has used 99.5 as a guideline, Etheredge said.

The athlete in question reported cold-like symptoms and saw a doctor. The athlete did not participate in workouts this past week. The positive test came back Thursday.

Etheredge said the athlete is quarantining and not showing significant symptoms.

“We’ve been pretty fortunate with it,” he said. “I think we’re handling it in the right way to help prevent everything.”

Oxford’s measures include bombing the weight room and locker rooms with disinfectant, wiping down equipment and wearing masks.

Sports Writer Joe Medley: 256-235-3576. On Twitter: @jmedley_star.

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