HIGHLAND — A Utah County high school soccer team has been ordered to quarantine after one player tested positive for COVID-19, and some parents and players weren’t happy about it. They believe it could have been handled much differently.
“I was very upset. I was very hurt,” said Emma Jenkins, captain of the varsity girls soccer team at Lone Peak High School in Highland. “It just doesn’t really make sense to me. There is not a lot of logic.”
“It was just taken from us without any warning,” said varsity player Riley Christensen. She will not play for the next two weeks and will miss out on four games.
“This was going to be a big year,” she said. “I was excited for this year. We put countless hours into the work.”
The girls said they learned that a player on one of the teams tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday. They said it doesn’t make sense for all 40 JV and varsity players to go into quarantine when many of the girls never came into contact with the player. Plus, they said the team the girl played against had more contact with her and none of them are in quarantine.
“There is this new normal that we are supposed to follow, but I also think there’s some time we need to adjust and adapt to this new normal. We need to find a better way to live our lives without shutting everything down,” said Christensen.
And their parents agreed, saying the girls should be able to get themselves tested.
“If they could go get tested and get a negative result that should be good enough to allow them to play. If they show the symptoms or signs then we sit out,” said Nicki Christensen, Riley’s mother. “I recognize that times are different. Maybe there is a way to allow the girls to continue to play.”
“Emma’s with me all the time, but I’m not required (to quarantine). You see how there is no logic?” said Barbara Jenkins, Emma’s mother. “Quarantine means you set aside those that are sick. Those at higher risk. People like Emma and people like Rylee and other players, they are healthy, they know the risk. Let them take the risk.”
The fear is that this kind of protocol will only make kids avoid getting tested if they are sick.
“They can see now if we get tested and a positive then the entire squad is punished,” said Nicki Christensen.
“No one is going to get tested if they are going to shut everything down,” said Emma Jenkins.
They can see now if we get tested and a positive then the entire squad is punished.
–Nicki Christensen, parent
It’s not unusual for high school teams to be quarantined. According to the Davis School District, 16 teams were in quarantine already this summer. Three of them are in it right now. The Utah High School Activities Association said these teams will not be penalized.
“It’s simply a no contest that doesn’t either help or hurt a team,” said Jon Oglesby, assistant director for the Utah High School Activities Association.
The impact on the players is why these parents are speaking out.
“I just feel like as a parent if I don’t stand up for my child who will?” said Barbara Jenkins.
A spokesperson for the Alpine School District would not comment about the quarantine or even confirm a team is in quarantine. But they did say the district is following guidelines put into place by the Utah County Health Department.