Troy Thain doesn’t want to say what Ketchikan High School did wrong.
He’s leaving that up to Kayhi to make public.
But Craig High School’s wrestling coach — and Region V Alaska School Activities Association Representative — did speak to the Daily News about the process the Executive Committee of Region V went through after receiving notification of a novel coronavirus mitigation plan violation during the Bill Weiss wrestling tournament on April 24.
The violation was serious enough to prompt a letter from Region V President Jaime Cabral on Thursday, warning Kayhi of possible sanctions, and that future violations could result in Kayhi being denied membership in Region V for the 2021-22 school year.
Cabral did not return phone calls for the second straight day on Friday.
“We put a mitigation plan together for wrestling to happen, and all schools were to follow that mitigation plan for tournaments — for duals, for any wrestling that goes on,” Thain said. “We heard a violation happened at Ketchikan, and the committee got together, and we came up with obviously what came out.”
Kayhi hosted eight teams during the wrestling tournament on April 24, including Craig, as well as Sitka, Mt. Edgecumbe, Wrangell, Metlakatla, Thorne Bay, Haines and Petersburg high schools.
In addition to being Region V President, Cabral also is the Activities Director for Petersburg High School.
On Thursday, ASAA Executive Director Billy Strickland told the Daily News that he believed it was due to a Kayhi wrestler who was positive for COVID-19 and also participated in the tournament.
“From what I understand, Region V had adopted, I believe unanimously, including Ketchikan, that prior to any wrestling competition, all the participants would (be) tested for COVID-19,” Strickland said. “And it turned out that Ketchikan did not do so, and a student of theirs participated, and was positive of COVID, and that led to various schools having to put their programs into quarantine.”
Although Strickland was not speaking on behalf of Region V, Thain confirmed that Strickland was on the right track.
“That was one of the things that was discussed in detail,” he said. “That was part of the mitigation plan that we sent forth, and Ketchikan was aware of those situations.”
Before Craig traveled to Ketchikan for the Bill Weiss, Thain took his team to get tested.
“I take the whole team (to a clinic),” he said. “They all get tested. And then, part of the mitigation plan — and what we’re following — is we wait to get the results, and if everybody has a negative COVID test result, than we go on our mode of transportation to get to the place we were going to go.
“So to go to Ketchikan, we tested; we all waited for our results,” he continued. “We were all cleared, and then we went on the IFA, and followed all the mitigation plans while we (were) there. But that was kind of the first hoop we have to go through to make sure everybody on the mat was tested, and trying to secure the safety of the kids.”
But Thain wouldn’t go much further in explaining the situation.
“Out of respect for the process and individuals involved, I think it’d be better ... the violation was on Ketchikan, and if they want to disclose that information, that’s fine,” he said.
“But I just think, to keep the integrity of an executive session, and decisions that are made — the people that violate them, they can discuss and disclose what happened,” Thain continued. “But it’s up to them to figure that out, whether they want to make that public.”
It’s a sticky situation, and Thain understands the sensitivity.
“I’m part of the board. I’m a coach, also,” he said. “So I was pretty actively involved with what was going on, and really actively involved with making the mitigation plan to make sure everyone was on the same page and everybody was taking the COVID situation first-and-foremost.”
While in Ketchikan, however, Thain acknowledged not seeing anything wrong during the tournament.
“No, it was going pretty good,” he said. “Of course, when you get that many schools together, there are little things that are going to happen. But we just have to correct them as they go. And that’s just part of coaching and dealing with kids, too.”
On Tuesday, five COVID-19 positive cases were traced to the wrestling tournament, with one also attending Kayhi’s prom and a parent-sponsored afterparty on April 24.
In the ensuing days, positive COVID-19 cases have continued to be considered “close contact” stemming from the Kayhi cluster.
Because of the recent rise in COVID-19 cases stemming from Kayhi, the high school closed for in-person classes on Thursday and Friday, moving to online only.
All Kayhi activities were canceled this weekend, as well — although that would have happened anyways, as Kayhi moved online.
As part of Kayhi’s mitigation plan, all activities stop when Kayhi is strictly online.
Both baseball and track and field teams were supposed to travel to Sitka. Softball, and boys and girls soccer were supposed to host teams from Juneau.
Even though Petersburg’s wrestling team was in Ketchikan last weekend, the school’s baseball team traveled to Juneau-Douglas High School on Friday.
Cabral took the team to the airport.