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School pushes COVID ‘proximity monitors’ for student-athletes

A Washington State school district is pausing on a program that would place ankle monitors on student-athletes to track potential COVID-19 spread.

Eatonville High School wants to use “proximity monitors” to collect information on the movement of coaches and student-athletes involved in higher contact sports, according to King 5 News.

The proximity monitors, the district says, give the school immediate information regarding contact made while participating in high contact and moderate indoor contact sports during practice, the news outlet reported. This allows the school to “more tightly determine” who may need to quarantine in case of a positive COVID-19 test.

The idea didn’t sit well with a lot of parents, many who find the monitors all too much Big Brother.

“I have an issue with a device being put on my child, who’s done nothing wrong, to monitor their movement,” said Jason Ostendorf, whose three kids children Eatonville High School, two of whom play sports.

A recent letter from the district asserted the system would prevent unnecessarily taking students out of school and athletics.

“It allows us to keep more students engaged and involved in class as well as athletic activities,” the letter states.

The district insists the radio-based monitors are not tracking students, but rather the distance between individuals wearing the devices and the length of time spent near one another. They are  only to be worn during participation in a sport.

After hearing enough outrage from parents, the board dropped the mandatory monitors.

“These have been shelved. We will not put them back into place at all. What we’re going to do is allow the coaches and the parents to make the decision,” Eatonville School Board director Matt Marshall told King 5.

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