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2 High School Student-Athletes In Brentwood Test Positive For COVID-19; 3rd Awaiting Test Results

BRENTWOOD (CBS SF) -- Two student-athletes engaged in summer workouts at Brentwood's Liberty Union High School District have tested positive for COVID-19 and a third was being tested after showing symptoms, forcing the district to temporarily shut down preseason conditioning programs.

KPIX 5 has learned one of the athletes is a varsity football player at Heritage High School. Principal Carrie Wells said the team had been practicing in groups of 12 - and that all of the other students in his group have been notified. The football player who tested positive has been asymptomatic the entire time, according to Wells.

In a letter to parents, Liberty Union High School District Superintendent Eric L. Volta said the three athletes, from Heritage and Liberty High Schools, had been taking part in Contra Costa County health approved activities. They have been working out in social-distanced pods with a limited number of students to prevent widespread exposure among teammates.

"At this time, it appears the students contracted outside their workout pods," Volta wrote. "The parents of all the students who had close and remote contact with these students during the conditioning activities have been notified."

"I am convinced that while under the supervision of our coaches these students maintained social distance with their workout groups, and covered their faces going to and from their workouts while on campus," he continued.

No other information about the student-athletes was provided nor any update on their condition.

"We are suspending all conditioning activities until it is clear if or when interscholastic sports will even occur," Volta concluded in his note.

The stoppage of training activities across the district will be in place until a decision from the state on whether or not fall sports will be played. That decision was expected on Monday.

Volta told KPIX 5 the positive cases are very troubling because the school year hasn't even started yet. He said this may push back the fall semester start date of August 10th. The original plan was to have students attend school in person every other day, but that format may now change.

"(The positive COVID cases) highlight the fact that there are some things that are outside of our control off-campus," said Volta. "And so we are re-evaluating our August 10th start date."

The Liberty Union High School District superintendent said the two students who tested positive appear asymptomatic. A third student who is showing symptoms was waiting for the results.

"They were not working out together. It's completely unrelated," said Volta. "We think it's a community situation that was brought on to campus."

All three were participating in summer conditioning programs with their teams, which the Contra Costa County health department approved. The superintendent said they were working out in pods of 12 athletes per group.  Other members of the pods have not shown any symptoms.

"At this time, we don't know if (the number of infected students has) grown or if our safety protocols, in fact, worked to prevent the spread," said Volta.

All conditioning programs have been canceled since the district found out about the positive cases on Wednesday. But we found some student-athletes working out on their own at Liberty High on Thursday afternoon.

"People are going to get it without even knowing they have it," said Mark Bardo, an incoming senior at Heritage High School. "And then, bring it home to the families of seven, families of eight with older people and younger people."

Some students and parents said instead of the current format of in-person learning every other day, it should be online classes only for the upcoming semester.

"It's safer. With all the kids and all that stuff, you know, high school kids, people are going to take their masks off in class," said Bardo. "You know, we're going to joke around."

"If all of these meetings regarding school re-openings are online, why would we put our kids back in school?" asked Heritage parent Marcus Rosario.

Volta said the school board will meet and talk about how they'll move forward soon since they have to make a decision quickly.


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