Lady Pirates drop Ontario for first win since 2015

Payette’s Kenzy Spelman jumps to hit the ball over the net.


It’s going to be at least another week before the Payette volleyball team takes the court, as the team is currently under quarantine until Sept. 9, after players tested positive for COVID-19.

According to Payette High School Athletic Director Bob Dixon, the volleyball had players test positive for COVID-19, meaning the whole team and the three coaches are being quarantined.

Due to the quarantine, the Pirates are canceling Tuesday’s game against Marsing and games against New Plymouth scheduled for Thursday and Sept. 8.

This is the second time this year that a team from Payette has had to quarantine due to COVID-19 exposure. The football team was quarantined from Aug. 14-28 after players were potentially exposed to the virus at a camp. The quarantine meant that the Pirates had to cancel their season opener against Cole Valley on Aug. 28.

Also, on Monday, Payette School District had five staff members who were absent from school due to exposure to COVID-19. On Tuesday morning, Payette School District Superintendent Robin Gilbert said the five school district employees who are quarantined were not contact traced back to the school.

One of the staff members who was quarantining was a volleyball coach, and Dixon said that staff member will be able to return to school on Wednesday.

The Payette volleyball team is scheduled to host Marsing on Sept. 10. The Payette football team is scheduled to open the season on Friday, at New Plymouth.

News of the volleyball team’s quarantine comes just days after the Payette School District Board of Trustees voted unanimously to keep schools open to full in-person instruction while implementing a face covering requirement. This decision was made during a Thursday night special meeting.

The meeting was the second in a week’s span, as the school board had previously met on the morning of Aug. 21.

This meeting was following an update that was posted by Payette School District on Aug. 20, announcing that the school year would not be starting on Aug. 24 as previously scheduled due to “a significant community spread of COVID-19 for Payette City and County.” During the Aug. 21 meeting, the board decided to stay the course and open schools on Aug. 25 for full in-person instruction.

Payette is one of three counties that Southwest District Health has labeled as “red” or under high alert for risk of community spread (the other two counties are Washington and Canyon). Weiser and Fruitland school district are also in school, but under the hybrid model where only half of the student body is in school at one time.

The 83661 zip code (which is Payette) has an 11.42 daily incidence rate per 10,000 population over the past seven days.

This is the highest in Southwest District Health’s coverage area.

The second highest belongs to 83619 (Fruitland) with an incidence rate of 9.13 per 10,000 population.

The next meeting of the Payette School Board will be on Sept. 14.

Nik Streng is the sports reporter for the Argus Observer. He graduated from the University of Oregon in 2015 with a master's degree in journalism, after graduating from Pacific University in 2013 with a degree in creative writing.

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