The mother of a wrestler on the Bainbridge High School team is upset that matches are resuming this week despite a high number of positive COVID-19 cases.
“My family contracted COVID from the wrestling team, and rapid testing did not work for us,” April Avey Trabucco says in an email to The Bainbridge Island Review. “They are valuing sport competitions above the health and safety of students, families and our greater community.”
As a result, she said her son will no longer be turning out with the team. “This isn’t just about my son – at this point he probably has more immunity than most. This is about the greater good and overall efforts to move forward in a responsible way,” she writes.
In a letter to the district, Trabucco says she doesn’t understand this way of thinking, especially since proof of vaccination is not required for this sport. “They weren’t even masking before the (recent) outbreak,” she writes. “We have no control over what other team’s players are doing. We know this was a super spreader sport…”
In response, BISD superintendent Peter Bang-Knudsen says the district is following state Department of Health guidelines.
“I believe that in general, students participating in athletics is positive for their physical and emotional health. We will continue to partner closely with the DOH, and if we need to make further revisions or restrictions to winter sports, we will certainly follow those guidelines,” Bang-Knudsen writes in an email response to Trabucco.
He said he understands the decision for their son not to compete in wrestling.
”I think other families would like to make other decisions for their kids,” he said. “I am not comfortable unilaterally closing down wrestling or other sports at this time, without further guidance from our health agencies.”
Trabucco says many parents are worried about sending their kids back to school this week because of the outbreak, and it’s even more of a risk for wrestlers.
She says her son caught COVID from the team, and he’s been out of school since Dec. 14. He took rapid tests and they came back negative – even after he was symptomatic. He had a 103.4 temperature and was having trouble breathing.
“I was literally getting up in the middle of the night to make sure he was still breathing,” she writes.
On Dec. 21 he finally tested positive. But the rest of the family got sick, and their results were all negative, too. They have been vaccinated and received their booster shots as well.
“There comes a time when the blind optimism and toxic positivity from coaches (or similar position of authority) does more harm than good. This is that time. Please shut this down,” she concludes.