‘It’s a rollercoaster’: Families with students in sports have tough time following changing guidelines

MEAD, Wash. – Constant changes to testing and mask guidelines are making it hard for families and students participating in sports to stay on the ball.

It’s possible guidelines will continue to change as the Washington Department of Health continues to look at the guidance for students.

In mid-December, DOH changed the testing guidance for students playing in sports because of a wrestling tournament outbreak in western Washington. Just a few days ago, it changed again.

Previously, students participating in sports had to be tested three times a week. The recent change said students only need to be tested on competition days. DOH changed the guidance because testing supplies are strained.

While the guidance could help with COVID testing demands in some areas, the Greater Spokane League director Ken VanSickle said some students will still have to test multiple times a week when there are multiple games.

“We could have some teams testing more than three times a week if they have four games in a given week,” he said.

Masks are also now required again during practice when they weren’t in the previous guidance.

“It’s a rollercoaster. It’s up and down, one season to the next, the guidance changes,” said Andy Prado, the dad of a Mt. Spokane High basketball player and former football player.

His son, Aiden, is in his senior year. So, to see him play in sports is important. It’s difficult in a pandemic because games continue to get canceled or rescheduled. It has to be done when too many students on one team would test positive for COVID.

VanSickle said more than 50 basketball games had to be rescheduled in divisions 2A, 3A and 4A so far this season.

“You’re looking at 32 varsity teams, and so everybody’s had to reschedule, reshuffle. That doesn’t include all the lower-level games,” he said.

Although it can be too much seeing all the constant changes to sports guidelines for students because of COVID, Prado is glad his son can still at least play.

“Mask up to lace up, I’m telling you. Whatever we got to do to keep these kids in whatever realm they’re playing in, I think, is a good thing,” Prado said. “The years go by so quick and the seasons aren’t really that long.”

For more information on the guidelines for students participating in sports, click here.

RELATED: K-12 students who play sports no longer have to test for COVID 3 times a week