Daytona State College suspends sports after ’unacceptable’ spike in COVID-19 positivity rate

20 out of 165 student athletes test positive for COVID-19

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – All athletic activities at Daytona State College have been suspended due to what school officials are calling an “unacceptable increase in positivity rate” among student athletes.

According to a statement from a representative at the college, the suspension comes after a reported spike in the COVID-19 positivity rate among athletes who live in school housing.

School officials said on Friday that 20 out of 165 student athletes had tested positive for COVID-19.

[DATABASE: Tracking coronavirus in Central Florida schools]

The representative said the school planned to have fall sports despite the pandemic, but that the increase in cases, suspending athletics was in the best interest of the players and coaches.

“Daytona State College Athletics has been an integral part of the planning process for the fall semester. However, due to an unacceptable increase in the positivity rate among a group of student athletes residing in college housing, and for their safety, as well as the safety for coaches, staff and faculty, college administrators are suspending athletics activities immediately. This includes practices, team meetings, study halls, and group and/or individual workouts,” said Chris Thomes, the school’s director of marketing and communication.

According to Thomes, the cross country team will be allowed to continue its season since it’s already underway and runners don’t live in school housing.

Thomes said all student athletes who live in school housing are in quarantine as a precaution. Once they are out of quarantine, the college will no longer house students in the apartment complex where the spike was reported, Thomes said. Special living arrangements will be made for those with hardships as the school sees fit, he said.

“Our commitment is always the health and safety of our students, faculty and staff,” Thomes said. “This is a difficult decision, but safety drives every choice we make.”

[INTERACTIVE MAP: Coronavirus cases in Florida]

The spike comes as health officials say the state’s coronavirus situation appears to be stabilizing.

The Florida Department of Health reported 3,198 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday. Fifty-nine of those cases were reported in Volusia County, where Daytona State College is located. More than 9,600 cases of the novel coronavirus have been reported in Volusia County since March, when the virus was first detected in Florida.

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