LANSING, Mich. — New state rules will require high school and middle school athletes to take weekly COVID-19 tests in order to play or practice.
On Friday, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services updates the Gatherings and Mask epidemic order, increasing weekly testing for players ages 13 to 19.
The changes go into effect April 2.
Chief Deputy Director for Health and Human Services Joneigh Khaldun said in a press conference that many COVID-19 cases are related to outbreaks, which have increased 9 percent in the last week. Outbreaks numbers in the K-12 groups have exceeded those in long term care facilities.
She attributes the numbers to activities that children are involved in such as sports.
“In January and February, local health departments identified 315 outbreaks associated with different sports teams related to clubs, schools and recreational sports,” she said.
The Michigan High School Athletic Association Executive Director Mark Uyl said in a press conference, “beginning with April 2, all of our remaining winter sport athletes will need to complete a rapid antigen test.”
This will apply to 896 wrestlers. On April 2, they have two days left of individual wrestling finals, said Uyl. Wrestlers will continue to test 24 hours before competitions.
“The only other winter group that would still be competing as of April 2, will be all of our basketball teams that reach the quarter final level. So that's 32 boys basketball teams, it's 32 girls basketball teams a rough number, we're talking 950 basketball players that would still be remaining in our tournament, the following week, that first full week of April to where they would have to complete rapid antigen testing.”
Uyl said that spring practices begin next week and that the order will require testing for spring sport athletes as well.
He said, from what MHSAA understands, testing will continue to be provided free of charge by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
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