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Austin Warns of High Youth Infections as Sports Begin

Andy Berg

Officials in Austin, Texas, are seeing an increase in COVID-19 infections in young people just as prep athletics and other extracurriculars begin to kick off.

Austin Public health warned this week that more than 16 percent of elementary and middle school students tested positive for COVID-19. In high school, that rate rises to nearly 28 percent.

Some Central Texas school districts have already begun fall athletics practices.

“Our number one goal is to provide our athletes an opportunity to participate and to do that as safely as we possibly can,” Leal Anderson, the Austin ISD athletic director, told the local NBC affiliate. “Health and safety for all of our students, staff, coaches and everyone is first and foremost.”

Anderson said that many of the safety protocols that were implemented last fall are still in effect, such as frequent disinfecting and social distancing. 

Teams are being asked to work in small groups and to minimize contact. Masking is also being recommended.

Anderson said that if athletes want to continue suiting up for the entirety of the season, then they have to be responsible and “do their part.”

“Do your part. Do your part to keep yourself safe and family safe,” Anderson said. “And if everyone does their part, then we can collectively have a better environment.”

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