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Fayette County will not participate in athlete COVID-19 testing

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FAYETTE COUNTY, W.Va. (WVVA) - Coaches and administrators in Fayette County will not test all of its athletes and band members for COVID-19, WVVA confirmed on Monday. All three high schools will, instead, remain in the orange phase and choose not to participate in athletic competition this week.

In his press briefing, Governor Jim Justice announced the possibility of orange phase schools participating in Week 1. Each athlete would have to be tested and receive a negative result for a certain team to play.

At first, the offer sounded solid.

"When I heard there was a potential to be playing, I was excited," Midland Trail head football coach Frank Isaacs admitted. "Why wouldn't we be."

But, when he learned that one positive test could sidelines his squad for an additional two weeks, the decision became simple.

"I was not willing to roll the dice and have the potential of missing three or four games because I wanted to play this week," Isaacs said.

Director of Athletics at Oak Hill, Jeremy Buchanan, also highlighted some of the logistical concerns with the plan.

"The amount of time it would take to get this testing done -- and get it done before all of these games -- our boys and girls soccer teams were scheduled to play Woodrow on Wednesday," he said. "So, we would have to get every athlete and coach at the school this evening and set up those COVID tests to be done today -- to hopefully get them back by Wednesday -- on game day."

Buchanan and the rest of the coaches in the county with a game this week agreed -- the task would be just too tall. So, the county declined the testing and will sit the week out, as originally scheduled.

"The experts put out the protocols and the guidelines for a reason and we should probably stick to them," Isaacs said.

According to reports, Kanawha County schools have also opted out of the testing program.

WVVA will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.

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