A curveball came out last week from the WIAA (Washington Interscholastic Activities Association) when middle schools announced, starting with boy's basketball, that mandatory COVID testing is coming to athletics.

Unless a player is vaccinated, they will have to sign an agreement that they will be testing (at school) twice a week.  We reported information directly from Libby and Highlands Middle Schools in Richland and Kennewick.

Vaccine or testing now for HS Hoops (KaHS girls basketball Facebook)
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Monday morning, Oct. 24, Newstalk reached out to Highlands Middle School ASB-Athletics folks and asked why such vaccine-testing requirements were NOT in place for girl's basketball earlier this spring, as well as boys. The only athletes who were tested were wrestlers, and at least at the middle school level, they only competed against each other in-house. No meets against other schools.

So the vaccine-testing mandate been expanded to high school and cheer as well as boy's and girl's hoops and wrestling.

We were told it was a WIAA requirement, the new vaccine or test protocols. So we reached out to the WIAA. Justin Kesterson, Assistant Executive Director of Activities and Eligibility,  got back to us very quickly. Here was part of his response as to why the vaccine-testing requirement is new:

 "...The testing requirement will be in place at the middle and high school level for boys and girls basketball and wrestling. Cheer is also testing as a high-aerosol generating activity when indoors. The testing cadence is twice per week or within 24 hours of each contest. 

The testing requirement comes from the State DOH, not the WIAA to be clear. The addition of basketball and cheer came prior to the start of the school year and the reason was based on data the DOH had at that time."
 Apparently, the DOH did not 'feel' there was a need to test in the spring. They have not elaborated on this.
  So cheerleading has been added as well for the winter season. We had a hunch it began with the Department of Health.  Kesterson did not elaborate as to what the Department of Health 'data' said, but it's apparent they call the shots for the governing body of activities and athletics in our state in public schools.
   So the vaccine-testing mandate has been expanded to high school and cheer as well as boy's and girl's hoops and wrestling. It was not used for football, soccer or cross-country because the athletes were considered to not be in too close a proximity to each other.
Here's a look at how COVID has affected sports...

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