KINGSLEY — An unnamed person on the coaching staff for the Kingsley High School football team has tested positive for COVID-19.
Kingsley Area Schools Superintendent Keith Smith confirmed the news Thursday morning, but would not identify the specific coach who contracted the virus.
"We're in close contact with the health department, and they've started the contact tracing," Smith said. "We're very fortunate that how the practices are set up that great care was taken."
Tim Wooer, Kingsley head coach, declined to comment further on the matter. The undefeated and No. 3-ranked Stags (8-0) are scheduled to play Friday at No. 5 Reed City (8-0) in the district championship game. The COVID-positive coach will not be at the game, Smith said.
Smith said the game is still tentatively set to be played, but he added that could change over the next 24 hours.
"We should be good to go, minus a coach or two," Smith said. "No game is worth risking someone's health, but you don't want to just cancel a game when the vast majority of kids are healthy to play."
Reed City head coach Scott Shankel said the possibility of missing a coach just before a postseason game could influence the contest. He expects the loss to have "a big impact."
"I imagine (the) players would step up to the challenge," Shankel said.
Early signs point to there not being a lot of required quarantines, Smith said. However, Smith said that "out of an abundance of caution" all players have been referred to a doctor to either get a note saying a test is not warranted or to get the results of a rapid test.
Kingsley athletic director Mitch Miggenburg said school officials and the health department continues to work through contact tracing and testing results.
"We're hoping the impact of these is minimal," Miggenburg said.
Smith said six players who were exhibiting mild symptoms have been or will be tested. Two of those players received their results and tested negative.
"We want to make sure we keep everyone safe," he said. "When we know, we'll make the best decision we can."
Kingsley beat Reed City 48-36 in last season's Division 5 playoffs on the way to a state semifinal berth.
"They were really good," Shankel said. "Their O-line was one of the best O-lines I've seen in getting low and getting on you. ... I feel we're better (this season). We have a lot of returning kids ourself. I'm really pleased with where we're at right now."
Shankel said the Coyotes haven't dealt with COVID-19 issues much since a few junior varsity players had to quarantine early in the season because of close contact with someone who had tested positive.
Cheboygan is the only common opponent between the two. The Stags defeated the Chiefs 46-0 to open the season, and Reed City topped Cheboygan 44-6 to open the playoffs.