Weekly COVID-19 Testing for Student Athletes

In order to participate in practice and games, students now have to get a weekly antigen test

   On March 19, 2021, Gov. Whitmer issued an order stating that all student-athletes ages 13 to 19 must get a weekly COVID-19 rapid test in order to participate. There have been many mixed feelings about the testing among students.

   “I’m okay with getting tested honestly. It’s keeping my whole team safe. If one of us tests positive it’s better to catch it earlier on than send our whole team into quarantine. It’s a team sport, there’s no ‘I’ in team,” said varsity soccer player, junior Kaylee Niezgoda.     

   While some students like Niezgoda are okay with being tested weekly if it means she is able to play safely, other students feel that if they have to be tested regularly then sports restrictions should be loosened. 

   “If we have to get tested we shouldn’t have to always wear masks,” junior Jamie Cronk said. 

   Athletic Director for West, Jason Carmien, has been working with parent volunteers to make sure all students can get tested so they can play. The school gets free antigen tests, also known as the rapid test, through the State of Michigan. It only takes about 15 minutes to get the results, but if a student tests positive then they have to take more steps.

   “[Students have to get a] PCR test which takes 3-5 days to get results on. You will be quarantined before you get that official PCR test result. If that’s positive then the health department will contact you about your quarantine dates and things like that,” Carmien said. “If it is negative, then the health department will contact you and make a decision whether or not you are eligible to come back to school and play sports.” 

   Carmien and the rest of the athletic department and staff have never navigated athletics during a pandemic, but they are trying their best to keep kids playing their sport despite the abnormal school year. 

   “I just want you guys to know that we’re trying to support you kids the best we can to make sure you guys can play. We’re trying our best to make sure you guys have the best experience possible during the pandemic,” Carmien said.