On Oct. 7, the college announced there were 12 positive cases of the coronavirus in the athletics department. In response to the outbreak, W&M “temporarily paused” all sports activities including practices to “conduct testing.”
“We have temporarily paused all athletic team activities as a precaution and to conduct testing,” W&M spokeswoman Erin Zagursky wrote in an email.
“Those who have tested positive have been contacted by our case managers with information on how to isolate for 10 days and next steps,” she added. “Those who are identified as potential close contacts of those who tested positive are being asked to quarantine for 14 days; if they are students, they will be tested for COVID-19 around the seventh day of quarantine.”
Zagursky did not state whether the cases were from student-athletes or coaches and on Oct. 9, the university changed its reporting system, now listing “currently active students” cases and “total positives since August.”
It’s unclear if the student-athletes or the athletics staff tested positive for the coronavirus recently.
The news of the positive cases in the athletics department came just four days after Athletics Director Samantha Huge amid outcry for the university cutting — and how it was handled — seven sports programs.
WYDaily reached out to W&M spokeswoman Suzanne Clavet to see if student-athletes or the athletic coaches had tested positive for the virus.
Clavet did not directly address the question, saying “to protect privacy we aren’t going to provide a breakdown on practice by team.”
She said some of the teams have returned to practice “but not all of them.”
Clavet said the university will announce when all athletics activities resume.
Earlier she wrote in an email information the university had previously shared with the public, noting there were 12 positive cases from Sept. 30 to Oct. 7.
“At that time the Athletic Department’s chief medical officer paused all practice and training activities for all sports to allow testing to occur,” she wrote. “Testing of all student athletes and applicable staff has concluded with just eight additional positives, all identified through contact tracing.”
When asked why the public should trust W&M’s COVID-19 Dashboard which is supposed to update with the daily numbers, Clavet wrote the dashboard provides the “most up-to-date information regarding positive cases and testing at the university.”
She did not answer the question or elaborate on how often the college receives its testing data.
“Based on user feedback it was updated last week to specifically list active cases on campus,” she wrote. “Certainly the active case number is fluid as patients recover and complete their isolation. As it states on the website, the dashboard is updated daily on weekdays.”
And as far as the selection for the interim athletics director position is concerned, WYDaily asked Clavet why the assistant athletics director wasn’t chosen
Instead, W&M President Katherine Rowe’s chief of staff, Jeremy Martin, was tapped.
Clavet did not answer the question and sent WYDaily a link to Martin’s qualifications.
As of Monday, there are 13 active coronavirus cases among the on-campus student population and fewer than 10 active on-campus employee cases. The daily dashboard was last updated Monday at 2:15 p.m.
W&M defines on-campus students and employees as “any student or employee with a local address within a 30-mile drive of the campus is considered an on-campus community member,” including students and employees working remotely.
It’s unclear why the university does not separate the positive cases of students and employees on campus with those working remotely.
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