ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Anchorage School District will implement weekly coronavirus tests for high school hockey players after at least 64 students either tested positive for the virus or were told to quarantine because they were in close contact with someone who had the coronavirus.
The Anchorage district said all of the cases can be linked to two recent competitive hockey tournaments, Alaska’s News Source reported Thursday.
“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 Kersten Johnson, the Anchorage School District’s senior director of secondary education.
Johnson said the district will pay for the tests and that starting next week they will test for the virus until the end of the season.
Players who have received the vaccine do not have to test as well as those who have tested positive for the coronavirus in the past 90 days.
The school district is also testing high school wrestlers every week as required by an executive order by the mayor.
“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,” Johnson said. “We would do this for any sport if saw the same number of close contacts and positive cases coming out of that sport.”
The Anchorage School District high school hockey season was pushed back to the spring because of public health orders that deemed indoor gatherings inappropriate.
This story was first published on April 3, 2021. It was updated on April 5, 2021, to correct a headline that said 64 students have tested positive for COVID-19. Those students either tested positive for the virus or were told to quarantine because they were in close contact with someone who had COVID-19.