Three Keene State College student-athletes tested positive for COVID-19 this week, contributing to the decision to cancel several scrimmages with Plymouth State University teams that were scheduled for Saturday, Keene State President Melinda Treadwell said.
As a result of these new cases, 49 other Keene State student-athletes are in quarantine, Treadwell said in a phone interview Friday. Two Plymouth State student-athletes also tested positive for the novel coronavirus, she added, leading Treadwell and PSU President Donald Birx to cancel the competitions.
“When we got the cases here, and the cases at Plymouth, the president and I discussed last evening that it’s just not worth the risk,” Treadwell said Friday. “... I’m not going to risk bringing our teams into close competition with each other, because if we have someone who turns positive tomorrow, and then we compete, that’s going to be a risk for us. So we are not going to do that on Saturday, as planned.”
Keene State was set to host exhibitions against Plymouth State in volleyball, men’s soccer and men’s and women’s cross country, while PSU was going to host a women’s soccer scrimmage between the two schools, Treadwell said. She declined to say which Keene State teams had student-athletes contract COVID-19, citing confidentiality.
This is the second time COVID-19 has affected Keene State athletics. A student-athlete tested positive for the viral respiratory illness last month, leading 25 other people — one staff member and 24 students — who came in contact with that student to quarantine.
With the three new cases among student-athletes, a total of 18 Keene State students have tested positive for COVID-19 since they began returning to campus in mid-August.
Seven students tested positive before arriving or shortly thereafter, five of whom had received their results before moving back to Keene. Since then, another eight students have tested positive during the college’s weekly testing of all students and employees, according to the school’s online COVID-19 dashboard. For the first time this year, last week’s mass testing at Keene State did not detect any new cases of COVID-19, Treadwell said.
No Keene State faculty or staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 this semester, Treadwell said Friday.
Anyone who tests positive at Keene State is required to isolate — either by returning home or reporting to a designated space on campus — until receiving a negative test result.
The Little East Conference, of which Keene State and Plymouth State are members, canceled competition for the fall semester but each institution is allowed to schedule intercollegiate contests if it chooses to.