Chaparral, Saguaro football game canceled after player tests positive for COVID-19

Saguaro High School was hoping to play against Chaparral Friday but a Chaparral player tested positive for COVID-19 and the game had to be canceled. (File photo by Jamie Nish/Cronkite News)

PHOENIX – A highly anticipated football game between Chaparral and Saguaro high schools was canceled Wednesday after a Chaparral player tested positive for COVID-19.

The Scottsdale Unified School District confirmed the news about the game schedule for Friday in a release. Later, parents expressed concern about the fairness of the decision.

“It puts the team at a huge unfair situation and I think there’s a lot of concern as to whether they can be prepared to play that (Hamilton) game safely,” said Brad Schweigart, a member of the growing Parents in Support of 2020 Football in Arizona Facebook group.

The player, who last participated at practice on Sep. 25, is now in isolation and adhering to the SUSD COVID-19 Response Plan.

Other members of the team, coaches and staff have been instructed to quarantine for the next 14 days and monitor their health closely.

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The team’s need to quarantine has led the district to also cancel Chaparral’s week two games on Oct. 8 and 9 against Sandra Day O’Connor. This decision has caused some parents to be concerned about the team’s preparations for its week three matchup with the Hamilton Huskies as well the rest of season.

“In those two weeks, the team can’t have any team activities, no workouts, no nothing,” Schweigart said.

In an email written to the SUSD, Chaparral Football Foundation booster president Aaron Minor contested the district’s decision to cancel the games by referring to the AIA COVID guideline regarding the number of positive COVID cases required for team shutdown.

According to AIA recommendations, in order for a team of 25 or more members to have activities suspended three or more members of a team must test positive.

“It is clearly written by SUSD and AIA that a single incident does not meet the criteria for suspension of activities,” Minor wrote in the email. “This decision is reckless, harmful, and inconsistent with publications and practices by multiple school districts in the Phoenix Metro area, most importantly SUSD.”

The Scottsdale Unified School District did not immediately return a call to Cronkite News.

As of Thursday, no action has been taken by the AIA in response to the complaints from parents and high school football is still scheduled to begin across the state Friday.

Sports Reporter, Phoenix

Christopher Howley expects to graduate in December 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in sports journalism. He is a digital reporter for Cronkite Sports and has worked as a sustainability reporter.