SIERRA VISTA — The Sierra Vista Unified School District and Buena High School administration announced the closure of the high school and its athletics program until Nov. 30 on Sunday. The suspension of athletics was overturned for some student athletes on Monday by Superintendent Eric Holmes.
Buena was closed because of two unconnected positive coronavirus tests at the school. District spokesman Jacob Martinez said that county public health officials informed the district two unconnected cases “constitutes an outbreak under ADHS guidance.”
The school’s four cross-country runners who qualified for Friday’s state meet and the volleyball team, which clinched a spot in the state tournament for the first time since 2006, were given the green light to compete. The caveats to their participation in the state competitions are that athletes and coaches have to produce a negative COVID-19 tests and have their own transportation to the meet.
“We’re just happy the superintendent and Mr. Duce came up with a plan to let the kids compete,” Buena cross-country coach Roger Bristow said.
He added that because the school is closed the runners have to practice on their own ahead of the biggest race of the season.
“At this point they know what to do,” Bristow said. “Kids are pretty adaptable.”
Buena volleyball coach Todd Bradbury said all 14 of his varsity players and the three coaches have to produce a negative COVID-19 test and submit it to the Arizona Interscholastic Association by Wednesday morning, ahead of the final bracket being released.
“We are extremely grateful for Family Health of Sierra Vista for donating a test to each of our athletes and coaches in order to give them the opportunity to be cleared to play in the state tournament,” he said.
Bradbury went live in the team’s Facebook Tuesday evening announcing all the tests came back negative and the proper paperwork is being set to athletic director Greg Duce, who will then pass it to the AIA.
Buena will not host the first-round game like it was slated to due to the shutdown. Bradbury said the game will be played at a neutral site but doesn’t know where that will be and if spectators will be allowed. He added that he hopes parents will be allowed in since they have to drive their athlete to the game.
While the state athletes have been given the go ahead to compete, the Buena football team was not. The Colts were supposed to play their last game of the season and their first home game on Friday against Cienega.
Due to its last two games being canceled Buena no longer can qualify for the state playoffs, which was attainable despite a 2-2 record.
“It’s unfortunate for the student/athletes who put in so much work during a short period of time and are unable to play games,” Buena football coach Joe Thomas said. “I admire the football players for their accountability, commitment and teamwork. I still have hope for my team and would like to send my seniors off with their first and last home game of the season.”