Winkelman Hayden figured to be in the mix for the IA, 8-man state football tile this season.
But that won’t happen now that the Hayden-Winkelman School District decided to cancel all fall sports because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Superintendent Jeff Gregorich sent a letter to the community last week, citing the health and safety of the student-athletes, families and the community for not participating this fall.
In July, Hayden elementary school teacher Kimberley Chavez Lopez Byrd died of complications from the virus. She had shared a classroom with two other teachers during the summer. All three contracted the coronavirus.
Her story made national headlines.
“I am concerned for the safety of our players, community, and families,” Gregorich said in an email. “The COVID-19 is still here and the risk is too high to play contact sports in the midst of a deadly pandemic.
“The lack of coronavirus testing and the possibility of players spreading it to each other, and taking it home to their families are real possibilities. Many of our players live with, or are being raised by grandparents, and if they get COVID-19, it could be deadly.
“We don’t have daily rapid testing, or a NBA-type bubble to keep our players COVID-free and isolated.”
Hayden joins rival Kearny Ray, which this summer canceled fall sports.
Two years ago, Hayden reached the 1A final, losing to Superior in the championship game.
“It’s been a very tough week once we were told we wouldn’t play,” Hayden football coach John Estrada said. “I was as positive as I could be to the boys, but it’s been very tough.”
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