Let Dominic Comfort run his last Cross-Country race
Let Dominic Comfort run his last Cross-Country race
My name is Dominic Comfort, and I am a senior at L’Anse Creuse North High school in Macomb County, MI. I am the Editor-In-Chief of the North Star Newspaper, as well as the captain of the Cross-Country and Track & Field teams, which are my main passion and the sports I wish to continue in college. I am starting this petition because on 10/12/20, I was brought down to the Dean of Students Mr. Poljanac's office, where he informed me that I would have to self-isolate for 14 days starting back from last Wednesday, since I had supposedly come into "contact" with a positive COVID-19 case on Wednesday October 7th. This would force me to not be allowed to practice with my team during our championship season, and removes me from school, also not allowing me to take the makeup SAT among many other problems. Of all the problems however by far, not being able to run in my final 2 Cross-Country races of my high school career is heart-shattering. Anybody that knows me, from our athletic director Mr. Balle to my Coach Mr. Bryan Stewart, knows how hard I worked and prepared this summer and how deep my love and dedication is for running. Running 50-70 miles a week, putting in long hours of training despite having no races to look forward to during COVID, are just some of the things I’ve had to work with this summer. This season has had so many ups and down, losing one of our top runners, losing our camp, barely getting the chance to compete, not to mention myself and other runners plagued by injuries and having a rocky season at best. However, we have still had many moments where our heart and passion for the sport and for each other as teammates has shined through more than ever, such as last Friday when we placed 5th out of 30 schools and 38 teams in the Macomb County championship meet. Our finish at counties was the 9th best finish ever in LCN's near 50 year school history, and the best team finish since 2014 (we also brought home a shiny trophy for the XC trophy case earning a nice piece of hardware before graduating).
With all of this being said, my Cross-Country team is a family and I am devastated that things could end this way. We have a SERIOUS chance to WIN the MAC White Championship this Thursday, but we won't be able to if I'm not allowed to run. Not only that, our pre-regional meet is on the evening of October 20th (Only 12 hours before my absurd "quarantine" period is supposed to end) and without myself in that race, the team will likely not advance to our regional on October 31st, ending the season for myself and all of my teammates, which would also mean my season is already over, based upon just a 12 hour difference. Myself and the team have been heartbroken over this. I have a chance at an all-conference spot in the MAC White, as well as a team victory, which would be ran on my favorite cross-country course of metro beach for the final time this thursday, but I am being told I have to sit out despite TESTING NEGATIVE! We train all summer for months on end to peak specifically for these two races, and I am heartbroken at the idea that people want to strip them away from me for no reason whatsoever.
Immediately after school on 10/12/20, I went to Total Urgent Care in Clinton township for a rapid COVID-19 antibody test, of which came back NEGATIVE for BOTH types of antibodies, which not only means I do not have the virus, but that I have never even come into contact with it. I have received a Doctor's note provided by the physician, stating “It is our recommendation that Dominic returns to school at this time”
Later on yesterday while my father was speaking to the school through the phone, it was inferred by my father and I that the supposed "contact" happened based on a seating chart last Wednesday in my first hour Honors Pre-calc class. This means that there was never ANY "contact" whatsoever, since I can assure you of the circumstances whereas the infected person was someone whom I have never met and never spoken to, sitting in a desk behind me, distanced 6 feet away from me, had NO face to face or physical contact with me, and we both wore masks the whole hour. NOT ONLY have I since tested negative, but, based upon what I've learned in the various medical classes I've taken at LCN such as Anatomy & Physiology, 6 days after a supposed exposure is EASILY enough time for the B cells in my healthy immune system to begin secreting antibodies against the virus, had I contracted it. However within these 6 days, I have shown NO SYMPTOMS, attended practice each day, attended school each day, ran the Macomb County Cross Country championship race last FRIDAY, and tested NEGATIVE for antibodies as of yesterday. It has become clear that I DO NOT have nor have I been in direct contact with COVID-19.
I have been responsible and following every single guideline to ensure that I don't jeopardize things for myself and for the team. I have also been following LCN's distancing and mask policies. I have not been careless throughout the pandemic, and I have encouraged the cross-country team to take proper precautions each day so we can have our season. For the most important time of the year to be ripped away from me, completely out of my control, just because somebody whom I've never met in my life, sat six feet behind me, wearing a mask, 1 week ago, and they tested positive, is nonsensical and heartbreaking for me. That person has absolutely no relation or relevance within my life, and has nothing to do with me. If I had spoken to them or worked with them in some sort of group activity, I would be honest and upfront and say so. That is not the case however, and there was no "contact." It makes me feel slapped in the face by the school and institutions I truly care about and have worked to do so many positive things for. The fact that I would not only be banned from attending school, but have my final two cross-country races and the future of the team's season stripped away from myself and the others, despite having an urgent care file explicitly stating "It is our recommendation that Dominic may return to school at this time" is devastating and saddening.
To wrap this summary up, I’m not sure what else I can say, other than describe how much this nonsensical choice goes against the very values LCN instilled in me. For 3 years now I have done everything I can to be a positive role model within LCN, helping out various underclassmen and guiding them in good directions throughout the years. I have taken up countless leadership positions within the Cross-Country team, Track & Field team, French class, Newspaper Staff, among other clubs and activities I take part in. I have always felt integrity in doing what is right and I have always felt proud of my school and my community. you can ask any senior that knows me- whenever people groan in the hallways about how much they "hate LCN", I am the first person to speak up and tell them to have some school pride. Next year I plan to attend college, and I've helped at least 2 of my friends make the decision to continue their education as well. My commitment and dedication would be nothing without the sport of running I partake in. Just as I have a natural grit, as well as love and passion for high school, those qualities come from my time running on the Cross-Country team. I've used this energy to lead the cross-country team to new heights over the past two years, and this year of 2020 we have already had so much taken away. Within a few months, I will likely be signing my letter-of-intent to run cross-country and track in college. I will be the first male-distance runner from LCN to commit to run at a college since 2014. However, no matter what triumphs my future will hopefully hold, my entire athletic career, as well as my High School life, will forever feel incomplete if I cannot don the black and gold on the Cross-Country course at least one final time for my senior year. I appeal to LCN and to the L’Anse Creuse Public School district, please assure me that my years spent having integrity to do the right thing were not all for nothing, and please do the right thing and allow me to compete in these 2 races, especially our MHSSA Pre-Regional qaulifer on October 20th. That is all I ask. I can avoid LCN and practice for however long they want, but there's nothing more that I need than to just run these final two races for my team, my coach, my friends, my school, and for my peace of mind. I am healthy, I am ready to go, and I await your response with some small last bit of hope in these grim last 24 hours.
Thank you so much for reading this,
with hope you'll hear me out,