Kenston was still willing to host, but the Orrville football team is not making the trip to Bainbridge Township for an anticipated clash between unfamiliar foes on Sept. 25. In 68 seasons of football, Kenston has never played Orrville.
The Bombers (1-2) were 2018 Division III state champions, while the Orrville Red Riders (2-2) were Division V state champions in 2018.
The Kenston Local School District has three active cases of COVID-19 among students at its high school, as of Sept. 24. Active refers to individuals who are confirmed and are currently isolated as directed by the Geauga Public Health Department.
Due to those COVID-19 concerns at Kenston, the Orrville athletic department decided Wednesday that the Red Riders’ varsity and junior varsity football teams will not play the Bombers. Kenston Athletic Director Reid Guarnieri said in a tweet that it was Orrville’s decision to call off the game.
“At Orrville’s request, this weekend’s varsity and JV football games have been canceled,” he said.
In a message to students and parents on Wednesday, Kenston High School Principal Tom Gabram said, “We regret to inform you that Orrville High School notified us they will not fulfill their commitment to play the varsity or junior varsity football games versus Kenston High School for this Friday and Saturday.”
Mr. Gabram also said Kenston was unable to secure an alternate opponent.
Kenston has zero cases for staff members and zero cases for its middle school, intermediate and elementary school buildings.
Since returning to in-person learning on Aug. 31, Kenston has had four cases in total – all high school students – with the first case on Sept. 1 for an individual who was confirmed positive but is now recovered outside the 14-day quarantine period.
District Superintendent Nancy Santilli reported the three active cases on Sept. 18, 21 and 23 in emails to district families and staff.
“Today, we were notified that an individual at the high school tested positive with COVID-19,” she said in each email. “As required, the Geauga Public Health Department has been informed and is advising us during this process.
“GPHD uses a proactive contact tracing process and will notify individuals who may have been exposed. They will provide quarantine information and additional direction if necessary.”
Ms. Santilli continued and said, “As we work to keep students and staff safe during this pandemic, we will share as much information as possible with you, while still following legal privacy laws. If you have any specific questions, please contact GPHD at 440-279-1900.”
Kenston’s gridiron clash against Orrville was supposed to be the Bombers’ homecoming game.
In his message to high school students and parents, Mr. Gabram announced alternative plans for Kenston and its community members to celebrate homecoming festivities.
“This is homecoming week and we would like to provide an opportunity for our students in the marching band to perform as well as to recognize our homecoming court and crown the kind and queen,” Mr. Gabram said.
“To that end, this Friday, Sept. 25, beginning at 7 p.m., we will have a performance of the pregame and this week’s Beatles halftime show by the KHS marching band,” he said. “In addition, we will have the introduction and recognition of this year’s homecoming court.”
Mr. Gabram said the entire event will take about 30 minutes. There will not be tickets sold, but he asked families and students to socially distance themselves from others in the stadium bleachers.
In accordance with the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s guidelines, there will be a maximum of 750 people allowed to attend, or 15 percent of the 5,000-person capacity of Kenston’s stadium.
The Bomber gridders are schedule to conclude their regular season with a road game against Wester Reserve Conference foe Willoughby South at 7 p.m. Oct. 2 at Harry E. Winters Stadium in Lake County.