Michigan high school athletes begin COVID-19 rapid testing regimen

Published: Dec. 30, 2020 at 6:56 PM EST
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MUNDY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WJRT) - High school football teams in Michigan received the green light to finish the last few weeks of their seasons this week.

But in order for that to happen and for players to resume practices, they must complete a negative COVID-19 test. That testing process, which is a new pilot program through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, began Wednesday.

”The kids have been under a lot of stress. You’re on, you’re off, they have to get tested and cross their fingers and go through the anxiety of, oh my god am I going to test positive and not going to be able to play,” said Jake Weingartz, the football coach for Davison High School.

Under the pilot testing program through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, players and coaches have to test negative with an antigen test that gives results in about 15 minutes. If a player tests positive, they will be sent home and then must get a nasal test to confirm the results.

However, if the nasal test comes back negative the player will be allowed to come back and play.

The testing will be conducted three times per week for each team. For Davison, it’s Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

While Weingartz is grateful to be able to finish the season next month, he knows it’s been really hard on the players. He’s encouraging them to make smart decisions on those non-testing days.

“With New Year’s Eve coming up, it’s just wear a mask, be careful,” Weingartz said. “I’m not going to tell you not to go to your family’s New Year’s Eve party if they’re having one, we’re just going to try and get through it as seamlessly as possible.”

Because winter sports are beginning in mid-January and football will overlap with, Weingartz said some players decided to skip the remainder of football and begin focusing on their winter sports team. He hopes everyone tests negative so they can crush Detroit Catholic Central on Jan. 9.

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