The future of COVID-19 testing in sports

How will COVID-19 protocols change now that the mask mandate is lifted?

Zoey Mortazavi, Editor-in-Chief

Now that Oak Park High School is in its third week since the mask mandate was lifted on March 13, students have been wondering how protocols regarding previously required COVID-19 testing will operate. For example, will sports and certain extracurriculars still be requiring weekly COVID-19 tests for their students to participate?

The short answer to this question is no; however, this is subject to change based on how COVID-19 cases fluctuate in upcoming weeks. 

Case rates have dropped off substantially and are low to the point that the OPUSD is comfortable with not requiring testing,” OPHS Athletic Director Tim Chevalier said. “However, it is important to note that if cases start increasing again, testing could be re-implemented.”

As of right now for the Oak Park Unified School District, COVID-19 testing will not be mandated, on the premise that cases have been consistently low and show no signs of spiking. To that end, “Color,” the organization through which OPUSD gets its COVID-19 tests, should remain as an on-campus option for OPHS students. 

During the week of March 14, these tests were still being mandated to promote a complete abundance of caution, as well as to show OPHS families that protocols would be shifted back slowly as case levels shifted. At this point, however, it seems that cases are at such a point that the school district can begin to level off those mandatory negative tests. 

“I tend to still test to be safe, but it’s really nice that we’re getting to a point where that doesn’t seem necessary,” senior Angie Bleau, a member of the OPHS varsity Track and Field team, said. “It feels like we’re really getting back to a point of normalcy in sports and extracurricular activities.”