Washington school makes student-athletes, coaches wear ankle monitors as part of COVID-19 contact tracing efforts

Eatonville High School in Washington state required student-athletes and coaches to wear ankle monitors as part of their COVID-19 contact tracing efforts.

After receiving national online backlash and complaints from parents, the school revoked the policy. In a letter to parents, released after the criticism, Superintendent Gary Neal wrote, “We received grant funding that specifically included provisions to support higher-risk athletic programs, and we used some of those funds to pay for athletic proximity monitors.”

The monitors are referred to as proximity monitors, which one tech company refers to as “a technology solution that measures the effectiveness of events’ social distancing and awareness communications and highlights any pinch points for those [sporting and entertainment] fans attending that may lead to social distancing restrictions not being adhered to.”

Neal continued to defend the policy in his letter, “​​If a student or coach tests positive, we will have immediate information regarding athletes’ and coaches’ contacts, so we can more tightly determine who might need to quarantine. This system prevents taking students out of school and athletics unnecessarily. It allows us to keep more students engaged and involved in class as well as athletic activities.”

According to Eatonville, it is wrong to suggest students were being tracked, as “the proximity monitor contains radio-based sensors that track distance between individuals wearing the device, as well as length of time spent in proximity to one another. The monitor is only worn during participation in the sport.” 



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Antoinette is a community college student in Sacramento, California. She is a Politics Editor at Fact Based America, a correspondent for Campus Reform, and a student journalist. She previously worked for Turning Point USA as a High School Coordinator.

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