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High School student athletes react to weekly COVID-19 test requirement

Posted at 5:28 PM, Nov 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-11 19:28:15-05

NEPHI, Utah — The Governor's new statewide coronavirus rules require student athletes to be tested once a week in order to continue playing their sport.

Students at Juab High School in Nephi have varying opinions on if the requirement is the right thing to do.

“For me personally, I feel like it’s almost taking away rights that we have," said Savanah Rasch.

"It sucks right? We all know it, but it is something that needs to happen," countered Channing Warner.

Rasch said she feels the testing rule is not fair, and should not only focus on athletes in schools.

“I think that there should be all across the board," she said. "Either everyone should has to test or no one has to test.”

She believes most of the cases in her school come from students who come into contact with the virus while at work, not from playing sports.

"They’re not the people who have to test once a week,” Rasch said.

Regardless of the differing opinions among the students, they all worry about missing out on big moments in their athletic careers.

“I have goals in my sport, which is wrestling, to be a four-time state champion," said Copper Blackett, a freshman at Juab High School. "I can’t achieve that if we’re shut down.”

Another student, who asked to remain anonymous for this story said, "I just feel like it’s taking away a lot of opportunities. High school only gets four years to play their sport.”

Read: "With high school fall sports shut down in Nevada, some athletes are traveling to Utah to play"

For Kaitlyn Allred, who is the student president of the school's drama department, the focus is on the mental health side effects of coronavirus shut downs.

“We’re still feeling the effects of the virus, but we’re not feeling it as a physical sickness," Allred said. "It’s a mental health issue for us.”

She asked the same question as many across the state, and nation.

“At what point are we going to open back up?" She asked. "What point are we going to go back to having somewhat normal lives?”

Read: ‘Kids don’t only learn academics at school’ Looking at the mental health impacts of keeping kids home

Allred's friend Sydney Samuelson, who is also part of the drama department agreed with her statements on the mental health impacts.

“I know personally people have died." Samuelson said. "We are not naive to the problems that this causes, but we also see a lot of mental health issues in our age group.”

Warner, who is just steps away from being a four-time state champion, a dream he has had since he was a child, said he is willing to do whatever it takes to continue playing.

“If we did testing every week, we could know exactly who gets quarantined, we can stop the spread as soon as it starts to happen," he added. "We can’t do that if we don’t test very often.”

All of the students said they take the pandemic seriously, and agree that managing COVID-19 is a major issue, but like many across the state, they disagree on just how it should be done.