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PNG volleyball withdraws from tournament after outbreak grows

PORT NECHES — The Port Neches volleyball team will not play an upcoming tournament in Dickinson after the number of members infected with COVID-19 more than doubled.

Ten members of the team tested have positive for the virus. Multiple games last week were cancelled following four positive cases.

Port Neches-Groves ISD Superintendent Dr. Mike Gonzalez said the spread is something everyone across the U.S. is dealing with and it is creating new concerns for educators.

“We do not really know how we are going to deal with every one until we come across it,” he said. “We are just going to do the very best we can, just like we did last year.”

Gonzalez said the district is in a better position to handle outbreaks due to vaccine availability. While there are no imminent plans to change the way the district handles COVID-19, the superintendent said the process is fluid.

“We are not above changing how we do things if we feel like it is necessary to improve certain situations,” he said. “We are always trying to get better. There is no reason why we shouldn’t try and take all of the information we have and use it to our advantage… There is no guarantee that anything we do is going to be the right thing, because no one has ever dealt with these situations.”

PNG Girls Athletic Director Barbra Comeaux said the team is working hard to get back on the court.

“It just hit us,” she said. “If anything, glad it is happening now and let’s get it over with if it is going to happen. We are getting them back and working hard.”

Comeaux said the members of the team that tested positive are back on campus as of Wednesday.

“We are working and going from there…It is unfortunate,” she said. “Sometime things happen and we are moving forward. The kids are working hard and are excited about the season.”

Gonzales said small outbreaks have been “spotty,” which he attributed to socializing off campus.

“Last year, our cheerleaders went to a cheer camp and a few of them got COVID,” he said. “Kids are going to get it. Our students also are social butterflies. They want to socialize outside of school. I feel like the issues we are facing are issues that are created by students and the social outside of our campuses.

“Right now, we don’t have any issues and I hope as we get back to school, our kids don’t have as much time to socialize outside of school and, maybe, that will help the situation as well.”

The volleyball team’s next game is scheduled for Tuesday at home against Dayton.