State officials have shut down Waynesboro’s volleyball program for an additional two weeks because of a COVID-19 outbreak.
Nine players on the Little Giants varsity and JV teams have tested positive for COVID-19, said Dr. Ryan Barber, executive director of student services for Waynesboro Public Schools. Four players are on the varsity team and five are on the JV squad.
“Both of those situations would be considered outbreaks that are connected to that one particular team,” Barber said.
On Tuesday, the Virginia Department of Health informed school officials that both the varsity and junior varsity teams were required to suspend team activity for two weeks.
The team already had been shut down for two weeks and was ready to resume play Tuesday at Fluvanna County when the VDH order came down during the afternoon.
The Giants have only been able to play one match, which was the season-opener at home Aug. 23 against Harrisonburg. The Blue Streaks swept that match.
Since then the team has had virtually no practice opportunities.
With the latest two-week pause, the earliest Waynesboro could play another match is Sept. 23 at home against Buffalo Gap. At that point, the Giants will have had six matches postponed — two home and four away — and in need of finding play dates on a shrinking calendar.
The outbreaks began in late August, Barber said.
“In the contact tracing done with the volleyball team, students were identified as close contacts based on their contact with a positive volleyball player, and then they ended up testing positive,” he said. “That’s how the department of health grouped all of those people together because they were already identified as close contacts from a positive volleyball player.”
Waynesboro’s football team had several players test positive a few weeks ago, Barber said, but it wasn’t considered an outbreak and the team was allowed to continue practicing and playing games.
Barber said the reason it was not considered an outbreak is because players were getting sick from contact with people not involved with the team. In one apparent situation, a varsity football player wasn’t playing with the varsity team and had come in contact with a family member who had tested positive, and then himself tested positive after that contact with the family member.