A Jonesboro High School football player tested positive for coronavirus, Jonesboro Superintendent Kim Wilbanks confirmed to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on Monday.
Jonesboro Public Schools suspended all athletic workouts at the high school Monday. The district first announced the news on its website and Twitter page Monday morning.
The player, who was not identified, was screened before a football workout Wednesday but was asked to go home because he did not meet the criteria involved with participating in an athletic activity at the school. Wilbanks said that the student went home, then took a test for covid-19, which was determined to be positive.
Athletes, coaches and staff must be screened with a digital thermometer prior to any activity and answer questions if they've had a fever of 100.4 degrees or greater in the past two days, had a cough, difficulty breathing, a sore throat or a loss of taste or smell, or have had contact with a person known to be infected with covid-19 within the previous 14 days in order to work out or practice. The guidelines were set by the Arkansas Department of Health in conjunction with Gov. Asa Hutchinson's office May 21.
The Jonesboro athlete is the first known high school football player in the state to test positive for coronavirus. Department of Health officials will notify any student who came in close contact with the player, Jonesboro Public Schools said in a news statement.
The coronavirus pandemic hit in-state college athletic departments earlier this month.
On June 4, both the University of Arkansas and Arkansas State University announced positive cases of covid-19 for athletes. ASU had seven athletes test positive, while Arkansas announced one case later that day.
Jonesboro, led by Coach Randy Coleman, plays football in the 6A-East Conference in Class 6A, the state's second-largest classification. It is the largest high school in Class 6A football and Class 5A for other sports with an enrollment of 1,362.67 students according to the Arkansas Activities Association's classification numbers for the 2020-22 cycle.
Wilbanks said Jonesboro will have extra cleaning procedures for its football facilities, including misting machines. Jonesboro will resume athletic workouts for all sports today.
The AAA allowed schools to resume athletic activities June 1, but sports such as football were limited to only non-contact workouts. Jonesboro's football team was working out for the past two weeks.