ASD requiring COVID-19 testing for high school hockey players after over 60 positive cases, close contacts traced back to Mat-Su tournament

Published: Apr. 1, 2021 at 5:33 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Anchorage School District is implementing weekly COVID-19 tests for high school hockey players after at least 64 students tested positive for COVID-19 or were told to quarantine because they were a close contact to someone who had the virus.

The district said all of the cases can be tied back to the two competitive hockey tournaments recently held in the Mat-Su.

“Unfortunately we’ve gotten to the point where we have enough positive cases related to hockey that we are having to take extra precautions to keep schools open and keep kids safe while they are participating in ASD hockey,” said ASD senior director of secondary education Kersten Johnson.

Johnson added the district will pay for the tests and, starting next week, they will test until the end of the season so they can track positive and negative results. Hockey players who have received the vaccine do not have to test, along with those who’ve tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 90 days.

ASD is also testing high school wrestlers every week required by the executive order from the mayor. Basketball players were not tested during the season but teams playing in last week’s state tournament were required to test.

“For hockey, it is a little bit different, we’ve seen a rise in cases that are associated with hockey and felt the need to take that precaution,” said Johnson. “We would do this for any sport if saw the same number of close contacts and positive cases coming out of that sport.”

The ASD high school hockey season was pushed back to the spring due to emergency mandates this winter that didn’t allow for indoor competition. Both Fairbanks and the Matanuska-Susitna Borough played modified seasons this winter.

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