Orange County

Orange County kicks off high school football season amid pandemic

High school football is back for some Orange County schools, but only if players test negative for COVID-19.

Orange County Public Schools says AdventHealth performed 1,403 tests on players, coaches and trainers and only five players at Evans High School tested positive, which led the health department to recommend quarantining the entire team.

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Evans was supposed to take on West Orange High School, which sent out a tweet to try and salvage game day. But the school later tweeted all football activities are canceled until Monday.

On Thursday, a handful of teams are playing against non-OCPS teams that are not getting tested because they are in Seminole County and not part of the district.

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The district said there’s no magic number that will lead to a canceled game, but the test results are known within 15 minutes. OCPS then consults with the health department to decide how to handle any positive cases.

Overall, 16 of the 19 OCPS teams got to play Thursday.

The district is testing players biweekly but parents signed a waiver that will allow testing multiple times within a 180-day period. It is the only local district requiring players and coaches to pass a test in order to play.

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For those wanting to attend, there are strict rules in place.

First, players will only get two tickets for friends and family to cap capacity around 25%. Everyone will also be required to wear a mask, and some schools will do temperature checks.

Cheer teams, color guards and bands will not be allowed to perform.

Cierra Putman

Cierra Putman, WFTV.com

Cierra Putman flew south to join Eyewitness News in July 2016.

Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.

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