WANTAGH, N.Y. - The winter sports season almost came to an abrupt end for varsity shooting guard Kyle Dowden and the Wantagh Warriors.
"I was upset at first," Dowden said. "I feel like we put so much hard work into this."
In a letter to the Wantagh community, the superintendent reported 15 students tested positive for COVID-19, with 13 of those cases in the senior class and appearing to be linked to a party held over the weekend.
As a result, all classes for seniors were moved to remote learning for the week.
The remainder of the winter season was initially canceled for seniors but midday Wednesday, the district announced they can play in the rest of the games if they take a COVID-19 test every day and continue to be virus-free.
Wednesday night is senior night for the boys' varsity basketball team. Finishing the season is a relief and accomplishment for Kyle and other athletes who say they were doing all the right things.
"It was a tough night but I knew they were trying hard to get us on the court tonight," he said. "The fact that we’re about to play is a huge deal. It’s amazing. I’m willing to do whatever it takes the next week to play the last two games."
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Just last week, Manhasset Secondary School transitioned to remote learning and suspended the winter sports season after more than 30 students tested positive for COVID-19 linked to a social gathering. Officials believe these events are where the virus is spread more than anywhere else.
"I understand that young people are social and they’re sick of COVID and they’re sick of the masks," Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said. "I get it. But as we’re waiting for more vaccines to come it’s important we follow common sense protocols."
The Wantagh School District is offering COVID tests to seniors on Thursday afternoon.