EAST TEXAS (KETK) – Several East Texas school districts canceled Friday night football due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases.

Wednesday, Henderson ISD sent out a press release stating that Kaufman ISD had canceled their varsity game scheduled for Friday night in Kaufman.

Athletic Director and Coach Phil Castles relayed his disappointment after hearing of Kaufman’s decision. “Obviously you know our kiddos have worked hard, not just this week, but all summer long. They get ready for a game and they put a lot of work into it and then the rug gets pulled out from under them.”

Henderson Assistant Superintendent of Operations Shannon Bennett shared more on his conversation with the district regarding the cancellation of the game, stating that their discussion was positive. “We did explain to them that we did have a few cases here over the last few weeks but that it was nothing that we deemed to be an issue,” said Bennett. Kaufman administration then announced their decision.

In order to keep the momentum going, Coach Castles scheduled an inter-squad scrimmage so that his players have field time this week, ensuring that their hard work and preparation won’t go unnoticed.

“What you can do is keep them focused. You know the kids are gonna be disappointed and that’s alright to be disappointed. That’s part of life as well. We’re gonna work hard and look forward to next week when we play Spring Field and we’re gonna do the same thing we always do.”

Phil Castles, Athletic Director, Henderson ISD

Shannon Bennett stated in an interview Thursday regarding continuing in-person learning, that the district believes “…it’s good to have the kids learn in person and to have a certified teacher in front of them.”

The district currently has 84 reported cases, 41 recovered cases, and 43 current active cases. Henderson’s total enrollment is 3,332.

However, the day after, HISD announced that they are transitioning their high school to solely online learning for two weeks starting Monday, September 14th. Superintendent Dr. Lamp stated in their press release that the “…current number of active COVID cases among students is still low–right at 3% at the high school and 1% in the district overall. The number of teachers with active cases is also relatively low, but when considering the number of teachers quarantined due to possible symptoms or because someone in their household has symptoms, the number, at least at the high school, is large enough to impact the quality of teaching.”

We will provide updates on what this means for the football season.

Tatum ISD also canceled their game against Henderson after a student at Tatum High School tested positive earlier this week. The coaches and players are now in quarantine. They will return on the 21st.

“We were sent home out of an abundance of caution because of an individual that tested positive that may have exposed some of our team members that was around our team.”

Jason Holman, Athletic Director, Tatum ISD.

Holman said his boys are staying resilient and persevering despite the present circumstances.

“We just want to play and we want our kids to have an opportunity to play, we want our community to have an opportunity to see us play,” said Athletic Director Jason Holman.

Coach Holman said they are