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School To Require ‘Athletic Proximity Monitors’ To Help Contact-Trace COVID-19 Among Student Athletes, Coaches

Brittany Jordan

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A school in Washington announced Tuesday that it is requiring student athletes to wear “athletic proximity monitors” in order to help with COVID-19 contact tracing efforts.

The Eatonville School District sent out a letter to parents explaining that Eatonville High School had received grant funding specifically for “higher risk athletic programs.” The school used the grant money to purchase the monitors in order to prevent students from being quarantined and unnecessarily removed from school and sports participation, according to the letter.  The letter also clarifies that both students and staff are required to wear the monitors whether they are vaccinated or not.

The monitors use radio-based sensors that can only determine proximity between individuals wearing the monitor and do not track students’ locations, according to Eatonville High School’s FAQ page. The students are only required to wear the monitors while participating in the sport.

Athlete Zackery Schmeichel of Hazen High School holds a sign that reads “support your athletes” as people gather for a march and rally organized by Student Athletes of Washington (SAW), a group that formed to protest the postponement of fall sports due to COVID-19, at the state capitol in Olympia, Washington on September 3, 2020. (Photo by Jason Redmond / AFP) (Photo by JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images)

The monitors are being used for high and moderate contact sports, The News Tribune reported. These monitors are also being used in the NFL as well as in college football’s Southeastern Conference, according to The New York Post.

Parents were required to sign a waiver in order for their child to wear the monitor, but some parents expressed concerns that if they did not sign the waiver, their child would not be able to participate in sports, The News Tribune reported. “I was notified if I didn’t sign it, they couldn’t play,” said Jason Ostendorf, a parent who has two children playing sports at Eatonville, according to the outlet.  (RELATED: University Disenrolls Unvaccinated Students Before School Starts)

“It’s just one more thing they’re doing to the kids through this whole covid thing,” Ostendorf told The News Tribune. “The vaccine, now be tracked when you’re at practice. Where does this end? I feel like this is an experiment on our kids to see how much we can put them through before they start breaking.”

Brittany Jordan is an award-winning journalist who reports on breaking news in the U.S. and globally for the Federal Inquirer. Prior to her position at the Federal Inquirer, she was a general assignment features reporter for Newsweek, where she wrote about technology, politics, government news and important global events around the world. Her work has also appeared in the Washington Post, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Toronto Star, Frederick News-Post, West Hawaii Today, the Miami Herald, and more. Brittany enjoys food, travel, photography, and hoarding notebooks and journals. Her goal is to do more longform features journalism, narrative writing and documentary work, and to one day write a successful novel and screenplay.

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