BILLINGS — Grass Range-Winnett will not hold any practices or games for all fall sports until at least Oct. 19 because one of its football players tested positive for COVID-19, Grass Range athletic director Verna Jessen told on Thursday.

Grass Range High School will also be closed through Oct. 19 because of the positive test, the first confirmed COVID-19 case for a Grass Range student this fall, Jessen said. An adult who works at the school tested positive for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus before the school year started, she added.

Sportscaster Jason Walker first reported the news of Grass Range-Winnett's sports cancellations. The Class C cooperative has football, volleyball and cross country teams.

The Grass Range-Winnett football team (1-4) was scheduled to play at Denton-Geyser-Stanford this Saturday and at Fromberg next Saturday. Jessen doubts DGS will want to make up this Saturday's cancellation because the team has already clinched a spot in the 6-Man playoffs, which begin the week Grass Range-Winnett's suspension ends. The Rangers are open to rescheduling their game against Fromberg, a nonconference opponent, if Fromberg wants, Jessen said.

Low numbers forced the Grass Range-Winnett football team to cancel its season last year.

The Grass Range-Winnett volleyball team has five matches scheduled between now and Oct. 19. Three are against conference opponents, and Jessen said she will try to reschedule those matches. The Rangers' regular season ends on Oct. 23, so those makeup matches will be bunched together that week if they're played.

The Grass Range-Winnett cross country team had one meet scheduled between now and Oct. 19, at Hobson on Saturday. The state cross country meet will take place on Oct. 24 in Kalispell.

"My schedule has changed daily, it feels like, since the season began," Jessen said. "Hopefully our kids can get something before the end of the season."

Several other Montana schools have suspended in-person learning and/or sports this fall because of COVID-19, including Belgrade, Box ElderConradHardin, Hamilton and Stevensville. Lame Deer, Lodge Grass, Northern Cheyenne and St. Labre canceled their fall sports seasons, and at least 20 sporting events have been canceled in the last two weeks.

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