More than 100 students in quarantine as Thomas-Jefferson football gears up for PIAA semi-finals

JEFFERSON HILLS, Pa. — With four cases of COVID-19 currently at Thomas-Jefferson High School, more than 100 students are in quarantine. High school students are also attending class virtually.

The announcement comes the same week that Thomas-Jefferson’s football team is scheduled to play against Oil City in the PIAA semifinals.

“We kept him quarantined in his room, brought his meals to the door, knocked and left,” Tracey Arthrell said.

Arthrell’s 11th grade son was exposed to COVID-19 at school. She said he luckily tested negative. He’s just one of the more than 100 kids forced to quarantine.

Arthrell and other parents believe this week’s football game should be canceled due to the cases.

“Some people are going to bash me saying, “Oh you hate football.” No, I love life and if that makes me wrong, then that makes me wrong. I’m defending children,” she said.

Superintendent Dr. Mike Ghilani said he has no plans to cancel the matchup.

“They weren’t affected. There’s not one football player that’s part of their tracing, that’s tested positive, that is being quarantined. We see no reason not to let them play,” he said.

Ghilani said placing the students in quarantine was a proactive measure and he consulted with the health department about the plan.

“At no time has canceling the activities been considered in our conversations with them. We feel very confident that we are quarantining the proper students, we have this isolated,” he said.

The superintendent of Oil City schools said over the phone she’s talked with the athletic department about the game.

“It’s the quote ‘We are in this together.’ If we are in this together, let’s shut down the school together and shut down all activities for all safety,” she said.

The game is scheduled to be played at Thomas-Jefferson High School and there will not be a student section. Everyone will be required to wear a mask at the game.