ARLINGTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Across North Texas, multiple schools have had to cancel their summer strength and conditioning camps after athletes tested positive for COVID-19.
Arlington ISD’s Martin High School was one of the first schools to report a positive case and how leaders there handled it is being used as an example for others.
Leading a summer strength and speed camp for hundreds of student-athletes is challenging in its own right, but during a pandemic it’s a whole other story.
“I have yet to coach a drill,” Martin High School Athletic Coordinator and Head Football Coach Bob Wager said. “All I do is social distancing every day. We’re three weeks into camp and I have yet to coach a drill and I’m the head football coach.”
Coach Wager is instead focusing on keeping students safe.
When they arrive at camp, they do health screenings, stand six feet apart and work in groups of 12 called “pods.”
“That pod of 12 students is the same today as it was the first day of camp,” Wager said. “Pod consistency, social distancing, contact tracing.. there’s an awful lot of things that are happening in 2020 that if you would have asked me prior to two months ago I wouldn’t have known what any of them meant. I felt like we we’re really well prepared going in.”
Life happens and two weeks into camp, a student tested positive for COVID-19. Camp was suspended and Coach Wager began the contact tracing process.
“We notified the students and their parents that were in that pod.. what we’re referencing as pod 0,” he said. “We also communicated 1,200+ emails with all of the students and their parents that were in camp to notify them.”
Those who had direct contact with the positive case were asked to quarantine.
A deep cleaning of all facilities was completed. Wager documented everything that happened and in the days that followed, that documentation has been shared with other athletic programs across the country as an example of what to do if a student tests positive.
“It’s really great information to have if you have a positive test on your campus and they can go through and I’m sure the next person that reads it and looks at it may tweak it and they’ll make it better and I think that’s one of the unique things about the coaching profession,” Wager said.
Camp resumed last Thursday he continues to tell his athletes take what they learn in camp and apply it at home.
“Carry that on for the next 22 hours until we see them in the next day,” he said. “It’s a teaching opportunity and we’ve got lots of those here lately. We’re trying to do the very best we can.”