JOLIET — After having a recent COVID-19 incident in its program reclassified as an outbreak, 38 members of the Joliet West football program were placed in mandatory quarantine on Tuesday, Joliet Township High School District 204 confirmed Thursday.
The quarantine for the 38 members, all of which are unvaccinated, extends through Wednesday, September 22.
Joliet West announced Sept. 9 it would forfeit its Week 3 contest against Plainfield North, which would have taken place on September 10, along with its Week 4 matchup with West Aurora, which would have been played Friday night, due to COVID-19 protocols.
The program was shut down Sept. 9, but players could remain in school with negative testing or a full vaccination status. But on Tuesday, as confirmed positive cases continued to rise, the Will County Health Department designated the situation as an outbreak.
In total, nine members of the program have tested positive.
“On September 14, we received a directive from the Health Department regarding the Joliet West Varsity Football Team,” District 204 said in a statement Thursday. Due to the number of cases on the team, it is considered an outbreak situation and the students on the team who are not fully vaccinated have been required to quarantine until September 22.”
Prior to Tuesday’s outbreak designation, unvaccinated students that were identified as a close contact to a person who had tested positive for COVID-19 were given the option to participate in district-provided SHIELD testing to keep them in school and eligible to participate in activities as long as testing results remained negative. But that exemption is removed if a different directive is provided by the health department.
Fully vaccinated members of the Joliet West football program are eligible to return to practice Tuesday. Joliet West’s most recent roster has 60 players listed. When the quarantine period ends Wednesday, quarantined players must produce a negative test before being allowed to play.
Joliet West’s next scheduled game is in Week 5 and is set for September 24 at Plainfield Central. IHSA rules indicate a program must have at least 15 able-bodied players to begin any contest.