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Effective January 11, 2021, the East Bladen Girls’ Varsity Basketball team has canceled workouts and competitive play through January 21 due to COVID-19 issues. Bladen County Schools learned on January 8 that seven individuals associated with the basketball team have been identified as close contacts to a non-basketball team individual that has tested positive for COVID-19.

Due to privacy requirements and NCGS § 130A-143, we cannot release to the public the name of the individual or details that may identify him or her, but the information has been provided to the Bladen County Health
Department in accordance with NCGS § 130A-136.

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) has been made aware of the positive case and quarantine time, responding that “the team must postpone any scheduled contest during this quarantine period.”

Previously scheduled games that will not be played during the quarantine period are South Columbus, East Columbus, and West Bladen. A decision has not been made as to whether a make-up game will be scheduled between these schools.

The girl’s team will return to workouts and competitive play on January 22. Their remaining scheduled games will be held on January 22, 26, 29, February 2, 5, 9, 12, and 19 which is the last game of the season.

The health department is investigating the case and is working with school staff to identify anyone who may have had close contact (i.e., within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes) with the COVID positive individual. Any impacted person/s who were determined to be in close contact with the infected individual have all been notified effective January 9. Those that were in close contact will remain off-campus for up to 14 calendar days to ensure that there will not be any potential further spread. If the
health department does not contact you directly, you have not been identified as a close contact.

Bladen County Schools states in a press release, “The safety and well-being of Bladen County Schools’ students and staff is always our number one priority. We are taking extra steps to ensure the safety of all. Bladen County Schools are following CDC and DHHS guidelines as we continue to monitor the situation.”

They added, “Our Board is committed to the health and safety of its employees and students and supports measures that will keep all safe. Furthermore, we need everyone to do their part at school and at home to maintain social distance from others outside of their household, wear face coverings, and wash /sanitize hands often. The goal of every action in this sequence of events is to protect our students and staff and get back to learning and school activities as soon as possible.”

According to the Schools’ officials, they will continue to work with Dr. Terri Duncan, the Bladen County Health Director, to follow recommendations as to proactive steps we can take to ensure the safety of our employees and students.

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