Will new state rules encourage more teens to get vaccinated?


ROCKFORD, Mich. (WOOD) — As the state is set to ease up on some mask restrictions Thursday, the latest Gatherings and Mask order will also bring about changes for high school athletes.  

On and off the field, current masking requirements that took effect at the beginning of the spring sports season will remain in effect. The change will come for fully vaccinated students. The new order will no longer require them to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing starting two weeks after their second shot. 

Rockford Athletic Director Cole Andrews said fully vaccinated students will also be exempt from having to quarantine due to contact tracing.  

“From a coaching perspective, you don’t want your kids to sit … and this would obviously eliminate contact tracing if they got two shots plus 14 days,” Andrews said. “I would think that it’d be an incentive, but everyone’s got their own personal beliefs and we’re going to let families make those decisions.” 

In the meantime, the Michigan High School Athletic Association is urging everyone to get vaccinated right away. 

“We are encouraging anyone and everyone eligible — athletes or not — to get vaccinated,” MHSAA spokesperson Geoff Kimmerly said in a Wednesday statement to News 8.  

Head women’s track coach for Rockford High School Sean O’Brien said about a third of his players has already gotten their COVID-19 vaccine shot. He said the students seeing the vaccine as a way to protect what’s left of their season.  

“We have had quite a few girls that have been vaccinated on the team because they do not want to have to sit out anymore,” O’Brien said. 

Andrews said the district is working with the Kent County Health Department in figuring out the best way for students to prove their vaccination status. He said he should have those answers by Monday.  

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