Girls’ Volleyball scrimmages under the lights at George Gattas Memorial Stadium on Oct. 7. (photo by Mara Nicolaie)

Rick Lytle

Members of the girls’ volleyball program woke up to interesting news on the morning of Oct. 27: their program had made the front page of the Daily Herald. “COVID-19 hits Prospect High School girls volleyball team” read the headline, which was a story about how one individual in the Prospect girls’ volleyball program had tested positive for COVID-19, and, as a result, those in the program who had come into contact with this individual were quarantining. 

There was a mix of confusion and anger from some in the Prospect community over both the headline to the story and the story making the front page of the Daily Herald. Some people took to the comment section of the article that appeared on the Daily Herald’s website, questioning the newsworthiness and the picture the headline of the article paints. Some comments appear to have since been removed, although it is not clear who these comments were removed by. 

The Daily Herald did not reach out to Prospect administration for a comment and chose to instead quote Assistant Principal Frank Mirandola from a letter sent out to families affected by the positive case.

“We’re disappointed that the sole source of this article was a letter that was sent to notify families of a [COVID-19] positive individual, and there was no context given to the extensive safety measures in place to provide students with a safe and positive high school experience in the midst of a pandemic,” Mirandola said.

According to Mirandola, once the school was notified that an individual involved in the girls’ volleyball contact days had tested positive for COVID-19, the school followed the District 214 protocol for notifying affected families and mitigating the risk of any further spread. 

Additionally, rules in place look to reduce the dangers of COVID-19 before a spread can even begin to happen. At Prospect, indoor practices are limited to 25 people, which is below the Illinois Department of Public Health recommendation of a maximum of 50 participants. To allow for this, only projected varsity-level student athletes practice inside for indoor sports, with underclass teams finding ways to practice outside. 

Mirandola is glad the individual got tested and adhered to the contact tracing and reporting protocols. 

“We are appreciative of this individual’s commitment to Prospect’s collective good,” Mirandola said. “The person could keep this a secret, and we appreciate the fact that [they] are thinking about others and truly acting selflessly.”