LAFOURCHE PARISH, La. (WDSU) — Gabe Hodson, a Central Lafourche High School senior, is devastated after missing his state cross-country meet due to COVID-19. He will also miss his state swim meet after his classmate tested positive for the virus, but Hodson said he tested negative for the virus.
“It’s like I have been working my whole life for this,” Hodson said. “I’ve been swimming since I was 3 years old and then just getting it taken away. It’s like running a marathon, and then the last 100 yards they tell you to stop and you can’t finish, and you are disqualified, that’s what it’s like.”
Hodson’s parents, Ben and Monique, said they were informed by the school that their son had come in contact with a student who tested positive for the virus.
They said Hodson was tested and the results came back negative.
“The last exposure was last Monday for the child that had COVID-19, so today is the 10th day and he has no symptoms and a negative test,” Ben Hodson said. “They are stealing their youth and the things they should be experiencing.”
“The reason we are speaking up today we are hopeless, I’m hopeless,” Monique Hodson said.
The parents reached out to Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry.
“You have a young man who has worked and trained hard each and every year that he has participated in extracurricular activities, for many student-athletes out there this could be the difference between them getting a scholarship to college or not,” Landry said.
Jarod Martin, the superintendent of the Lafourche Parish School District, says he understands parents’ frustrations but must follow state guidelines and recommendations.
Martin said about 1,300 students attend Central Lafourche High School. Martin said 11 have tested positive for the virus and clusters have formed. Martin said they identified 300 “close contacts.”
Martin said the state Department of Health recommends the school go virtual and suspend all extracurricular activities.
“Once a child becomes positive, the period by which that person has to stay out is 10 days,” Martin said. “They also have to be symptom-free, but if you are close contact you have to stay 14 days. The reason for the disparity is because if you are a close contact, we know there is an incubation period to the disease. If you are in the incubation period, you won’t test positive or exhibit symptoms until the virus manifests itself, which is why close contact has to quarantine for 14 days.”
Martin says according to the Louisiana High School Athletic Association, individuals considered close contacts through contact tracing must quarantine for 14 days per Centers for Disease Control guidelines.
“My reaction is we are all disappointed,” Martin said. “We are all frustrated, but I think people can see across the state and the nation there are a lot of lives now being changed by this virus. This week we have seen an uptick not only in our region but across the state and across the nation. We all hope one day that this is behind us, but until then we feel extremely compelled and obligated to follow the department of health and their guidelines.”
Click here to see for guidelines for Fall Sport Competitions from LHSAA.
Click here to see guidelines on COVID-19 and sports from the Louisiana Department of Health.