BILLINGS — Park City's football and volleyball games scheduled for this week have been canceled because multiple staff members at the school have tested positive for COVID-19, according to athletic director Bob Hogemark.
The school learned about the positive tests on Sunday and struggled to find substitute teachers, so it switched to remote learning for the week, Hogemark told The Billings Gazette and 406mtsports.com on Thursday. Park City instituted a policy before the school year preventing its athletic teams from practicing if the school did not have in-person instruction.
This week's games were canceled because of that policy. None of the athletes or coaches have tested positive for COVID-19 or are considered close contacts, Hogemark said.
Park City plans to return to in-person classes next week, per Hogemark.
The move parallels other temporary online-only shifts in schools like Jordan, Anaconda, and Florence-Carlton, where positive COVID-19 cases and quarantines hindered in-person operations. Other schools, like Belgrade, have kept buildings open but canceled athletic events.
Park City's volleyball team was scheduled to host Absarokee on Monday and play at Denton-Geyser-Stanford on Thursday to conclude the regular season. Neither game will be made up, Hogemark said. The Panthers (9-6-1) are fourth in the Southern 4C standings.
Park City's football team was set to wrap up the regular season Friday night at Absarokee. The Southern 8-Man game would not have affected playoff seeding. The Panthers, who are No. 9 in the 406mtsports.com 8-Man rankings, had already clinched the conference's top seed, and Absarokee was eliminated.
Absarokee still plans to play Friday night — the Huskies will host Lone Peak at 5:30 p.m., according to Absarokee AD Chris Gunderson. The game won't count toward the conference standings.
Another Friday Southern 8-Man matchup, Ennis at Twin Bridges, was also called off because quarantines prevented Twin Bridges from getting in enough practices to play. Ennis already clinched the conference's third and final playoff seed, and Twin Bridges is sixth.
Montana added a record 932 COVID-19 cases on Thursday. The state has 9,036 active cases of the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and 353 people are currently hospitalized because of it.