The Phoenix Union High School District recently announced new COVID guidelines for students participating in extracurricular activities, including sports. Those guidelines include requiring proof of vaccination or the taking of a COVID test each week. Dr. Chad Gestson is the Superintendent of the Phoenix Union High School District.
“We’re doing all we can, as we said from the beginning of the school year, to protect the health and safety of our staff and our students and the next step for us is to require a vaccine or testing, beginning winter sports,” Gestson said.
He continued that winter sports are high-touch and high-contact. Such as: basketball, wrestling, soccer, and even cheer.
“And what we know is that our athletes often bring COVID spread back into classrooms and so this is not just about sports but about focusing on learning in school,” Gestson said.
This policy of showing proof of vaccination or testing will be effective November 1st for all athletes, coaches and volunteers.
“We’ve had a chance to meet with many staff, students and parents, not just about this particular decision but over the last several months and what parents in the community have told us is that they want us to do everything that we can to keep in-person learning,” Gestson said.
Gestson mentioned that they haven’t seen much push-back from parents and students about wearing masks and vaccine requirements.
He believe this is because, “for one, we’ve been very clear from day one, that we’re going to follow and trust the science. And that wellness comes first. But second, there’s a choice. This is not a vaccine mandate, it’s a vaccine or a test. It’s about safety and our community understands that.”