St. Viator is taking a cautious approach to its scheduled Week 1 football game on Friday, August 27.
So much so, that the Lions have canceled their scheduled game with St. Joseph Academy of Kenosha, Wis.
It wasn’t that either school has had a COVID outbreak. It is because St. Joseph Academy is located in Wisconsin.
St. Viator athletic director Jason Kuffel said that Illinois Department of Public health guidelines say that limiting travel to greatly affected areas of the country is prudent.
“By adhering to the Illinois Department of Health current guidelines, we decided not to travel to Wisconsin to participate in that game,” Kuffel said. “We want to keep our community and our school as safe as possible so we can maintain in-person learning again this year.”
IDPH Sports Safety Guidelines regarding teams traveling out of state say: “IDPH recommends that before traveling for sports activities, teams review the most recent data on county-level transmission across Illinois or in other states. If playing outside of Illinois, teams should avoid travel to areas of higher risk as recommended in the IDPH Travel Guidance.”
Suburban Cook County issued a travel advisory to Wisconsin on August 11. Vaccinated persons would not have to quarantine. Those unvaccinated would have to take a viral test 1-3 days before traveling and then get a viral test 3-5 days after traveling as well as quarantine for a full seven days.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Health website, 47.3 percent of Kenosha’s eligible population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. That is far below Illinois’ 75.2 percent that was reported Thursday by the IDPH.
“That is part of our whole analysis,” Kuffel said “We are taking everything into account. We have to look at the whole picture. It is not an easy decision.”
Kuffel said the athletic department and coaching staff at St. Joseph Academy were very understanding.
“St. Joseph has been absolutely tremendous in their partnership with us,” Kuffel said. “We have been open and transparent with them. We want to continue our relationship with one another. They are not going to hold us to the contract, and we are working to help them find a game.”
Illinois High School Association assistant executive director Sam Knox, who administers football for the state, said St. Viator would not be charged with a forfeit loss if it can’t find a replacement game.
Kuffel said he and head coach and assistant athletic director Dave Archibald told the team Wednesday about the decision to cancel the game.
“I know that coach Archibald talked to the captains, and they are staying positive,” Kuffel said. “While they are disappointed, they understand that certain decisions have to be made in order for our community to stay protected.”
Kuffel said that St. Viator is looking to find another opponent for Week 1.