Coach says health comes first after Evans vs. West Orange game canceled due to COVID-19 cases

5 positive cases lead to quarantine of entire team

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Orange County Public Schools officials announced Thursday’s game between Evans High School and West Orange High School has been canceled after five positive COVID-19 cases.

OCPS officials said the decision was made after a discussion with the Florida Department of Health.

The head football coach of Evans High School Vernon Mitchell said he knew it was a possibility, but now that it is official, it is a setback.

“It was tough to let the kids know this was going to be the case, it was like the kids had their hearts snatched out of their chests,” Coach Mitchell said.

The district said five positive coronavirus cases resulted in the quarantine of players, coaches, and trainers with Evans High School.

“Right now we have been shut down for 14 days, who knows what is going to happen when we come back,” Coach Mitchell said.

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School officials said all players and parents of students who have been identified as having been in close contact with a positive case have been notified by school administrators and the department of health.

Eric Schwalbach said his son is a linebacker on West Orange high school’s football team, and that the call to cancel the game was a common-sense move.

“I would rather them be safe than sorry, its not just the kids, if they take it home to someone else then it is putting somebody at home in jeopardy as well.”

The district said this does not impact the entire student body because of the established face-to-face football player cohorts.

Ultimately Coach Mitchell said the health of his team is a top priority.

“At the end of the day, your life and your well being and your family’s well being is more important than football.”

OCPS officials said the entire campus is being thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.

The district said West Orange’s game for next Friday is still on.

During Wednesday’s medical advisory committee Barbara Jenkins said all of the players that tested positive were asymptomatic.

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About the Authors:

Jon is a Web Producer for ClickOrlando and has been with News 6 since March 2019.

Nicky Zizaza is an Emmy-nominated reporter who joined the News 6 nightside team in December 2018. She is originally from Rwanda and she started her journalism career in the nation's capital.