Petition to UHSAA to End COVID-19 Related restrictions on Extracurricular Activities

We have been informed by educators in the Washington School District that members of the Utah Department of Health and Governor Cox’s administration have told them to continue testing for COVID-19 to determine eligibility for all extracurricular activities throughout the 2021-2022 school year. The reason given for this requirement is that Utah will not be able to continue to receive federal emergency monies unless we continue to test our children.

In the one-year period beginning with the first reported case of COVID-19 in the United States, 248 children ages 0-17 years old died with the disease. The population of the United States currently includes 72.4 million children under the age of 18. The CDC and WHO have released several statements saying that children do not spread COVID-19 in any significant way, and that spread of the disease by asymptomatic individuals is very rare. 

The requirement of testing for extracurricular activities was only placed on high school children. All other athletic and arts groups, depending on where they were located, were allowed to practice and compete as usual. Middle school children were allowed to compete with students from other towns in full-contact sports. Young children attended dance and gymnastics classes. Local theater companies were allowed to rehearse and present plays. City leagues full of adults, who according to all medical agencies have a much higher risk of both getting and spreading COVID-19 than children do, were allowed to play their desired sports. No additional surges in cases, hospitalizations or deaths were observed due to these activities.

High school children are naturally susceptible to a great deal of stress, due to the physiological and sociological changes they are experiencing. Many of them find comfort, relief, support and emotional outlet through participating in their chosen extracurricular activities. These children have had added stress heaped upon them because of the unwarranted testing that was forced on them every two weeks during the past school year. Some of these stressors include: not being able to make it to the scheduled testing because of a job or other activities, the fear of not being able to participate in their activities, missing a chance to show a college recruiter what they are capable of, letting their team down and forcing their families and friends to quarantine because of their association. All of these extra stressors are from being tested for a virus that their immune systems are so good at fighting, that most don’t even know they have it.

None of the COVID-19 tests on the market have ever been proven to work. Many have been given emergency authorization, however the FDA documentation on them clearly states that they cannot be used as the sole means of determining whether a person is infected or not. The most commonly used test in Utah Schools is the BinaxNow Ag Card. In the FDA’s documentation for the BinaxNOW test, it states that at least two different viruses could cause the test to show a positive result. The testing is, therefore, not only unnecessary and causing extra emotional harm to already stressed teens, but it isn’t even accurate.

Finally, Governor Cox himself signed an actual law (as opposed to the health orders that have been issued over the last year) which prevents any COVID-19 related restrictions from being placed on our K-12 children after July 1, 2021. If he or the health department were to decree that COVID-19 testing or any other restrictions on extracurricular activities must continue or be reinstated after that date, it would be a direct violation of the law. 

Holding our high school children for ransom in an effort to secure federal funds is unnecessary, unethical and illegal. We, as parents, guardians, students and concerned citizens, call on you to put an end to this practice immediately and to refuse to place any COVID-19 related restrictions on high school activities in the future.

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