LEWISTON — Bangor High School canceled a field hockey game against Lewiston High School on Tuesday after learning that quarantine protocols for COVID-19 were altered to allow several girls to play.

A player on the Lewiston field hockey team tested positive for the virus last week. After hearing pleas from six members of the field hockey team who were identified as close contacts and their parents, School Committee members agreed Monday to change the COVID-19 quarantine guidelines for outdoor activities.

“We come here because we feel that it’s unfair and inconsistent guidelines that are stopping us from playing our game and going to school,” sophomore Savannah Connor-Schade told committee members.

The new guidelines allow students designated as close contacts to return to school after seven days if they test negative for COVID-19 with a verified test outside of school on day five, or a rapid test in school on day seven. The motion also states that physical contact must be demonstrated, not assumed.

Lewiston Athletic Director Jason Fuller said he spoke with school administrators at Bangor several times Tuesday morning before they ultimately made the decision at 1:30 p.m. to cancel the game. According to Fuller, Bangor administrators felt the competition would be an unnecessary risk to its students and staff.

Bangor Athletic Director Stephen Vanidestine did not return a call requesting comment Tuesday.

Under the new guidelines, each of the girls returned to school Tuesday morning after testing negative for COVID-19, Lewiston Superintendent Jake Langlais said.

There were “many variables to consider, but all in all everyone is trying to bring the best decision they can to policy,” Langlais wrote in an email. “It’s a tough situation. I am hopeful everyone stays healthy, returns to schools, and is able to compete.”

The game would have been the final regular season competition for the Lewiston and Bangor field hockey teams. Playoffs are set to begin later this week.

Fuller said Tuesday was the last playable date for regular season competition, as allowed by the Maine Principals’ Association, so the game cannot be rescheduled. However, he is working to plan a scrimmage before playoffs begin so the junior varsity players have one last game and the team can celebrate senior night, which is planned for Thursday.

“I was feeling disappointed and kind of at blame,” Madison Freeman, a sophomore on the team, said. “If we hadn’t gone to the board, we would have had a game today. But I also feel it was still right to go to them so my sister and my fellow teammates could play in the game (tentatively scheduled) on Thursday.”

Tracy Miller, president of the team’s booster club, said she was not surprised when Bangor canceled the game.

“I think it makes sense considering that there is a policy, that there are guidelines that pretty much everyone has been following all season, and suddenly it was changed,” she said. “The decision was made without enough input from all of the important stakeholders, and it’s not the kind of decision that should be made lightly, without that kind of input.”

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