(Update: adding video, new information, comments from coaches at Bend Senior High School)
50 new COVID-19 cases reported across the district last week, more than half (27) coming from high schools
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- A delayed, shortened high school basketball season finally begins next week in Central Oregon and across the state. But there are some widespread COVID-19-related issues that could have an impact on the ability of some schools to participate in games.
"I feel like it's an endless game of whack-a-mole," said Allison Garnder, head coach for the girls' varsity team at Bend Senior High School. "I can never win. They keep popping up."
Bend-La Pine Schools told NewsChannel 21 Tuesday that more than 500 students across the district are still quarantined. On top of that, 50 new COVID-19 cases were reported last week, 27 of whom are high schoolers.
As a result, several basketball programs are left in limbo.
Aaron Johnson, head coach for the Bend High boys' varsity team, "I literally think we are one phone call away from being the next program that gets shut down for multiple weeks."
Four high school basketball programs in the district feeling the impact: The boys’ and girls' teams at Bend Senior High School, the girls’ team at Summit High, and the boys’ team at Mountain View.
Each of them has a handful of players in quarantine, most of whom are likely to miss the first few games.
“We will, almost guaranteed, be taking the court without a full team,” Johnson admitted Tuesday.
Gardner echoed that concern, saying, “I can't take five kids and go play two away games.”
She added, “If games don't happen, then they don't happen, and we'll try to get to as many of them as we can. At this point, it's hard to say."
Right now, all six of Gardner's returning varsity players are under quarantine. She told NewsChannel 21 tryouts and practices are postponed, and she'll review her options on a day-to-day basis.
Even if she is able to put a team on the court for their first games next Thursday, Gardner said other problems may arise.
“I don't really worry about getting all the offenses in and stuff that I normally do, but getting them physically ready does concern me, for sure,” she said.
When the season does begin, all players are required to wear masks, and fan attendance currently is capped at 10%.