Americas, Montwood athletes test positive for COVID-19, Socorro ISD suspends athletic activities

High School Sports

EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) – An athlete at Americas High School and an athlete at Montwood High School tested positive for COVID-19, Socorro ISD athletic director JJ Calderon said on Wednesday.

The sports the athletes competed in was not disclosed.

Additionally, a coach at Socorro High School that experienced symptoms of the coronavirus on June 14 was indeed positive for the virus, Calderon said.

Socorro Independent School District suspended all athletic and fine arts activities for the week of July 6-10 out of an abundance of caution, the district announced on Wednesday. Athletes at Americas, Montwood and all other high schools within SISD have not been on campus since last week, as the district was off this week.

The district did not initially report any cases of COVID-19 within its schools as part of the suspension of activities. Socorro ISD athletic director JJ Calderon cited the rising number of cases in El Paso and around Texas as a whole for the suspension, and the positive cases within SISD no doubt factored into the decision as well.

Socorro ISD is already off this week (June 29-July 3) for a scheduled summer break, completely unrelated to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

“We wanted to use this week to evaluate where we’re at and we did that,” said Calderon. “We looked at what’s been done state-wide, what other districts have done across the state, what districts locally have done. We used this time to get as much information as possible to make a good decision regarding what we want to do for our district.”

Calderon announced the news of the suspension on Twitter with a statement that read, “Out of an abundance of caution, Socorro ISD has made the proactive decision to suspend all athletic and fine arts summer programs for the week of July 6-10. We will provide updates regarding a potential return and fall programs as information becomes available.”

Calderon told KTSM that SISD will reevaluate at a later date its plans on a return to athletics after July 10.

Within SISD, Socorro High School never got the chance to begin workouts, after a coach experienced symptoms of COVID-19 on June 14. The Bulldogs suspended workouts that day and have not begun them in-person, according to the district. Socorro has been doing online workouts.

Socorro ISD joins a myriad of schools around El Paso to proactively suspend activities despite not having a positive COVID-19 case. Austin High School, Burges High School, Canutillo High School, Chapin High School, El Paso High School and Irvin High Schools all proactively suspended some or all activities earlier this week.

As of now, El Paso ISD is allowing its individual campuses to decide whether or not to hold workouts. Andress High School, Bowie High School, Coronado High School, Franklin High School and Jefferson High School are still continuing with their athletic activities. However, El Paso ISD is beginning a two-week break from all activities on July 6.

Last week, Ysleta ISD suspended activities for all of its seven high schools (Bel Air, Del Valle, Eastwood, Hanks, Parkland, Riverside, Ysleta), after coaches at Hanks and Riverside tested positive for COVID-19.

“I think everyone is taking that approach. We want to see what colleges are doing, we want to know what we’re doing locally,” said Calderon. “I think it’s a good idea to share what everyone’s thoughts are on this and try to make a collective decision based on the information everyone has.”

On Wednesday afternoon, the UIL released a statement recommending that high schools in Texas suspend activities between July 3-12, and resume July 13.

Among the El Paso-area schools, Clint ISD, which includes Clint High School, Horizon High School and Mountain View High School, is on a previously scheduled two-week break that began Monday. Workouts have not been suspended by Clint ISD, but they are not occurring from June 29-July 12.

San Elizario High School officials tell KTSM that the football team has gone back to virtual workouts and all other sports will do in-person workouts on July 2. After that, all sports at San Elizario will be off until July 13.

Anthony High School finished in-person workouts on Wednesday and will be off the next two days. Before the UIL’s announcement, Anthony officials told KTSM they planned to return after the July 4 holiday weekend, but that could change with new guidance coming down from the UIL.

Fabens High School is still active, but the Wildcats are taking the week of July 6-10 off from workouts.

Tornillo High School officials told KTSM on Wednesday that they did not hold workouts this week, but will return on July 6. That could also be altered by the UIL’s decision on Wednesday evening.

On June 12, Cathedral High School suspended its workouts following a positive test result by a Fighting Irish football player. Cathedral officials told KTSM that the school’s target date for a return is July 15, but the situation is fluid and based entirely on how COVID-19 develops in El Paso and around Texas.

The current target date for many schools to return is July 13. As of Wednesday afternoon, 20 El Paso high schools have currently suspended athletic activities.

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