Charleston football ready to return after COVID-19 shuts down practice


CHARLESTON (WCIA) — COVID-19 is hitting home with the Charleston football team. The Trojans have been sidelined from workouts for the past six days after a player’s parent tested positive for the coronavirus. The student-athlete notified the coaching staff last Wednesday, the last time he had worked out with his team was a week prior to that.

Charleston football coach Jerry Payne and school administrators referenced the Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines. Those protocols said since the positive test was from a third-party, it was unlikely anyone on the football team was exposed. That didn’t stop Payne from taking every precaution to keep his team safe though. He decided to stop practice for a week, just to be sure everyone’s health was not at risk.

“Even though the guidelines said we could meet, I still had that nagging feeling that we shouldn’t meet, we probably should just stop and wait,” Payne said. “I finally decided it was better to have a parent call me, and complain because we canceled, than have a parent call me and complain and say well you went and had that practice and now my son got COVID-19. So really it boils down to safety.”

Charleston football will start its Phase 4 workouts on Wednesday, but the player who had a parent test positive will take one more week off. The Trojans are coming off a 3-6 season in Payne’s first year as head coach of the program. Charleston is scheduled to open the season at Robinson on Aug. 28.

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