The Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District responded on Tuesday to Region V’s letter regarding novel coronavirus mitigation violations at Ketchikan High School during the Bill Weiss wrestling tournament on April 24.
In a press release, the school board says it has 30 days to “review and respond in writing to Region V’s warning.”
“The District is in the process of gathering information regarding the circumstances of the allegations outlined in the warning letter,” the press release said. “... Once the District completes a comprehensive analysis of the situation, a response will be provided in outlining any steps that will be implemented to address identified concerns.”
Region V President Jaime Cabral sent a letter to Kayhi on April 29 expressing concern over issues of COVID-19 testing during the wrestling tournament, and that future violations could result in Kayhi “being denied membership in Region V in the 2021-22 school year.”
“Due to (Kayhi’s) actions, Region V schools and communities have been subjected to unnecessary health and safety risks related to COVID-19,” Cabral said in the letter. “This letter is to be considered a ‘warning’ from the Region V Executive Committee. The undue stress on all communities and participating schools could have and should have been avoided. (Kayhi’s) failure to follow the plans as set forth by the Region V Board of Directors created a situation that put both the Region and participating schools in an unsafe and unnecessary situation. These actions may jeopardize other schools academic in-person schedules and future activities.”
Eight other high school wrestling teams were in town for the Bill Weiss tournament, including Mt. Edgecumbe, Sitka, Metlakatla, Wrangell, Haines, Thorne Bay, Craig and Petersburg.
On April 27, five COVID-19 cases in Ketchikan 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 been considered “close contact” stemming from Kayhi’s cluster.
“From the beginning of the pandemic, Ketchikan has been on the forefront of developing and enforcing strong, evidence-based mitigation protocols for our academic and extra-curricular programming,” the District said in the press release. “We — our administrators, coaches and staff — remain committed to the health and safety of our students, athletes, community and region, and will work to ensure our programs and events uphold the highest standards of COVID safety protocols.”
Cabral has not returned phone calls from the Daily News since April 29.