PEORIA — This was going to happen. And it's going to happen in other places.
Dunlap High School shut down its summer football conditioning program over the weekend when a player on the team tested positive for COVID-19.
Head coach Brett Cazalet has been leading the team's workout sessions Monday through Thursday. The test result came in over the weekend, and Monday's workout was canceled.
"We shut down ourselves, it was our decision," Cazalet said. "The school this afternoon is meeting with the health department to get some guidance.
"We're the first team in the area to have a player with a positive test. This is something that I think is going to happen in other places, to other teams, to students and student-athletes. And maybe here again at Dunlap.
"This is just going to be our reality in the 2020-21 school year."
Dunlap has followed all the IHSA rules regarding workouts, and had 40 kids on the field for its last session on Thursday.
Players and parents were notified by the school over the weekend that a player had tested positive, and that upcoming workouts on Monday were canceled. Those workouts will be halted until the school, under advice and direction from the health department, has a plan going forward.
"I feel very comfortable with how we handled this," Cazalet said. "We've been very proactive. The kids who were conditioning in groups that did not include our player who tested positive, probably could have continued workouts this week.
"But we shut everything down. We felt it was the right thing to do."
The IHSA loosened restrictions earlier this month governing prep summer sports workouts. But just days later the IHSA put out a new directive halting schools’ plans to hold football practices with contact, 7-on-7 scrimmages and contests in other sports against other schools.
The new directive requires masks to be worn by all participants when practicing or training indoors.
That wiped out plans by area schools to hold a month-long basketball schedule of games against other teams. And it hampered efforts by coaches to prepare their football teams for the coming season.
Health professionals have said one of the greater concerns about positive tests in the high school age group is that young people are a means of transmission to other members of their households who are more susceptible to the ravaging effects of the virus.
In general, many young people do not exhibit symptoms, but may lead to its spread.
The decision by the IHSA came on Thursday -- the day of Dunlap's final workout -- and cited an increase in positive cases of COVID-19 among high school teams across the state.
"We're the first to go through this," Cazalet said Monday. " And we won't be the last."
Dave Eminian is the Journal Star sports columnist, and covers the Rivermen and Chiefs. He writes the Cleve In The Eve sports column for pjstar.com. Reach him at 686-3206 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @icetimecleve.