Arizona parents debate hiding COVID test results to keep fall sports season going

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Parents in Arizona debated hiding their kids’ COVID-19 test results last week after at least two Phoenix-area high schools canceled football games because of positive tests according to the Arizona Republic.

At least 100 students from Cactus Shadows High School in the Cave Creek Unified School District were in quarantine this week after students began testing positive for COVID-19 according to a district spokeswoman. As a result, Cactus Shadows canceled its first two junior varsity and varsity football games of the year. Chaparral High School of the Scottsdale Unified School District did the same after two student-athletes tested positive for COVID-19.

Following the cancelations, a Facebook page called “Parents in Support of 2020 Football in Arizona” surfaced and has been picking up steam with more than 1,400 members. Cave Creek resident and Notre Dame Prep football parent Brad Schweigert posted in the group last week, urging parents to “manage COVID-19 testing ourselves” and keep the test results private.

“If the results are positive, then keep him away from the team and tell your coaches he needs a couple weeks off for “personal” reasons,” Schweigert wrote.

Schweigert went on to say that they had worked out a deal with 360Care, a COVID-19 testing provider, to test football families at a discounted rate. Schweigert’s post said 360Care had given football families a $10 discount to use their testing services. Test results would not be reported to the county.

“I do think we must take control of this issue and manage it ourselves as a parent group,” Schweigert said. “We have already seen the results on how this will be managed for us if we leave it up to county health and school officials.

“I’ve seen several people already suggest that no players should get tested for the rest of the season. The way I see it, the plan we have laid out is a much safer and more responsible alternative.”

In response to Schweigert’s plan and any other notion of parents hiding COVID-19 test results, David Hines, the executive director of the Arizona Interscholastic Association, called the suggestion of hiding test results “absolutely unacceptable.”

“The bottom line is we want to protect kids,” Hines said. “We have been given an opportunity to play. Everyone has to follow the procedures. Whether it’s the fans, the players and the coaches, there are protocols to help reduce the chances of people getting it.”

According to Scottsdale Superintendent Scott Menzel, parents are required to report their children’s positive COVID-19 tests under a commitment to the district that each parent signed.

“If we can’t trust that our parents are partnering with us to ensure the health, safety and well-being of their student-athlete and all those that they participate with, that creates a different challenge for us,” Menzel said. “We want everyone to be able to operate in community together, and that means being up front when someone’s sick.”

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