The Michigan High School Athletic Association is allowing fall playoff contests to go forward for schools that opt into a rapid COVID-19 testing pilot program.
As reported by Fox affiliate WSYM in Lansing, the program is a partnership between the MHSAA and the Michigan State Department of Health and Human Services that brings rapid antigen testing into schools.
The partnership will give state health officials the opportunity to see what testing in a school environment would look like, said Geoff Kimmerly, communications director of the MHSAA.
Schools are being provided Binax Now testing cards that give students and staff their results within 15 minutes. Teams will be required to hold three testing sessions per week throughout the remainder of the season to be eligible for competition.
Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, a senior public health physician with the state health department, said the tests provided to schools don’t require laboratory personnel.
“This can be anyone who’s gone through a training process and understands how to wear personal protective equipment, understands how to run the test, understands how to clean and disinfect the area afterwards," Bagdasarian said. "Anyone can run this test.”
At DeWitt High School, athletic director Michael Brya and members of the athletic training staff administer the tests, but not all schools in the state have embraced antigen testing.
DeWitt High School was crowned regional champions for football because the Stevensville Lakeshore Lancers opted out of the playoffs, with school officials expressing concern about a lack of information regarding the pilot program.