Lack of COVID tests puts sports on pause in Ephrata School District

EPHRATA, Wash. — A lack of COVID testing supply has once again disrupted the sports program at a local school district.

Starting Tuesday, several games and practices in the Ephrata School District will be put on hold.

This change affects athletics below the high school varsity level.

Basketball and unified basketball, wrestling, stunt team and JV cheer will not test, practice or play until further notice.

New testing guidelines from the Washington Department of Health are making it difficult for some schools to keep their athletic departments running smoothly – or operating at all.

Student-athletes are required to get tested for COVID three times a week, no matter what their vaccination status is. Previously, the DOH and WIAA required athletes to either choose to be vaccinated or be tested for COVID twice a week.

The Mead School District was forced to cancel all high contact sporting events until it received more tests.

PREVIOUS: Lack of COVID-19 tests forces Mead School District to cancel sporting events, practices and ‘test-to-stay’ program

In an update to families, the Ephrata School District said it worked hard to ensure there were enough tests to accommodate these new rules. But the orders placed were either delivered with fewer tests than requested or were canceled entirely.

District leaders said they believe athletics are an important part of a well-rounded education, and that “the decision to pause sub-varsity sports was not an easy one to make.”

“Please rest assured that we will continue to pursue all available options that will allow us to welcome our athletes back to their sports as soon as possible,” the district said.

Several local businesses and parents have taken the situation into their own hands by purchasing tests themselves. It is not clear yet if the school district can use them.

The district is also accepting donations of tests. They can be dropped off at the district office.

Families can read more about the changes here.