A student at Maloney High School, identified Monday by Meriden officials as testing positive for COVID-19, is a football player who last week attended the rally at the state Capitol calling for football to be played this fall, sources have confirmed to Hearst Connecticut Media.
A letter from Maloney principal Jennifer Straub to parents, obtained by the Meriden Record-Journal, said the student was part of Cohort 2 and did not report to the school when symptoms developed.
There was no mention that the student was a football player or that contract tracing had determined he had been among the more than 1,000 people, including many high school athletes from around the state, at the capitol protest.
But sources confirmed the student, who traveled with Maloney, was at the rally last week at the capitol. It is unclear whether all schools and teams at the capitol have been notified.
The city’s health department spent the weekend contacting people and working on contact tracing. The city is asking for the state’s health department for future contact tracing efforts.
Meriden Mayor Kevin Scarpati said Tuesday they “identified a couple dozen close contacts” to the student, some of which he practiced with within his cohort, in addition to his class cohort and then a few neighbors and friends whom he traveled with.
Meriden Superintendent Dr. Mark Benigni and Maloney football coach Kevin Frederick did not respond to requests for comment.
Meriden Public Schools sent a notice last week that a Lincoln Middle School student had tested positive for COVID-19 after attending classes while awaiting test results. The student was the second confirmed case of coronavirus in the Meriden Raiders youth football league.
The Raiders are an independent, non-CIAC sanctioned organization.
After the positive test, about 15 students at Washington Middle School, which also has Raiders players, were notified to quarantine, according to the Record-Journal. Meriden Public Health Director Lea Crown told the Record-Journal 100 individuals have been instructed to quarantine as a result of COVID cases involving student in local schools.
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont’s office declined comment.
Scarpati said the spread of COVID-19 through youth sports and schools is “definitely a concern.”
“Our [confirmed positive cases] are going up this week alone,” he said. “We have more than tripled our new case count the last week. Part of that is people are doing more with social gatherings and that contributes to it.
“Sports contribute to it, school contributes to it and just the fact, which I get people wanting to get back to their lives. They want to get together and enjoy what is left of this nice weather, but this needs to be taken seriously. There are still people not taking this seriously.”
The mayor, who is scheduled to meet with city and health officials Tuesday afternoon, said he has been receiving reports of Meriden Raiders coaches not adhering to all of the state’s COVID guidelines, including not always wearing or properly wearing masks.
The governor said Monday people not following guidelines could face fines for not wearing masks in public.
Dan Brechlin and Jeff Jacobs contributed to this report.