Sports

Washington high school shelves tracking monitors

A high school in the greater Seattle area has suspended a plan that would have required athletes and coaches to wear tracking monitors that trace possible exposure to the coronavirus.

Eatonville High School had earlier said it would provide the devices, also known as proximity monitors, to athletes who participate in high- and moderate-contact sports such as football, wrestling, basketball and soccer.

The school board last week voted to wait on the idea due to pushback from parents.

“The proximity monitors have been temporarily shelved pursuant to further parent input,” Superintendent Gary Neal said in a statement.

School administrators said that if an athlete or coach were to test positive for COVID-19, the monitors would allow those not in contact with that person to continue participating. Without the monitors, entire teams could be forced to quarantine if a member tests positive.

Similar to phone apps used in contact tracing, the monitors use sensors to determine a person’s proximity to others wearing the device and for how long. The district said plans called for athletes and coaches to only wear the monitors during games and practices. They would be left at the school when not in use.

Triax Technologies, which makes the monitors, said the devices do not store personal information such as location data or names.

“Many large organizations across North America have benefitted from using the solution to reduce the number of employees they possibly had to quarantine if an outbreak occurred,” the company said in a statement.

Neal said parents were notified about the plan and were invited to an informational meeting. They also had to sign a consent form for their child to participate in athletics.

“It allows us to keep more students engaged and involved in class as well as athletic activities,” Neal said in a letter to parents. “This is a top priority for staff and families here in Eatonville. This school year we can expect numerous changes and for situations to be dynamic.”

The NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball use similar devices worn during all team activities and on road trips.

This article was originally posted on Washington high school shelves tracking monitors