Eatonville School District implements digital COVID-19 monitors for student-athletes

A Pierce County high school is using digital monitors to track the possible spread of COVID-19 among student-athletes, causing controversy both in and outside of the community.

The Eatonville School District is implementing "proximity monitors" in an effort to prevent taking students out of school and athletics unnecessarily.

The district says they received grant funding for the monitors. The monitors are used for high contact and moderate indoor contact sports and will be used by both staff and students regardless of vaccination status.

During football practice on Tuesday, parents told Q13 News they believe this new technology will help their student-athletes have a semi-normal season.

"It’s a continuation of doing what we have to do to let the boys play a sport that they love," said Jason Lewis.

Lewis’ son plays on the offensive line for Eatonville High School. He says he is so happy to see his son back on the field after a strange season impacted by COVID.

Lewis says parents and students were presented with the information about the monitoring devices before practice even started.

"If my son would have told me, "Dad, I don’t want to wear it. I’m not going to wear it,’ He wouldn’t be playing football. That’s his choice. I mean, but he wanted to play football. He would have worn three of them if you asked him to," he said.

Lewis says the students wear the monitors during practice and then leave them in the locker room when they are done.

However, it’s a divisive topic. On Q13 News’ Facebook page, hundreds of people commented on this story both in favor and against the monitoring system.

Lewis says he has seen so much misinformation about the devices coming from people who are not affiliated with the school or the community.

"There are people connecting dots that aren’t even dots. And people who weren’t even at the meeting, who don’t even have a player on the team are upset about it," said Lewis. "I wish people would educate themselves about the situation before blowing up social media," he added.

The Eatonville School District Board is holding a meeting Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at the Eatonville High School Stadium.

Lewis says he and several other parents will be there.

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