Ketchikan high school warned by region and state governing body

A Wrangell High School and Ketchikan High School wrestler competed in a game earlier this season at Thunder Mountain High School in Juneau. (Klas Stolpe)

Juneau, Alaska (KINY) – The Alaska School Activities Association Region V Executive Committee has warned Ketchikan High School of possible sanctions for failing to follow Region V policies regarding measures to COVID-19 mitigation during the recent Kayhi wrestling tournament.

An official letter from Region V Executive Committee Chairman Jaime Cabral to Ketchikan High School and ASAA Executive Director Billy Strickland noted that:

“As a result of the actions of Ketchikan High School, schools and communities in Region 5 have been subjected to unnecessary health and safety risks from COVID-19. This letter should be seen as a “warning” from the Region 5 Executive Committee. The undue stress on all participating communities and schools could and should have been avoided. The failure of Ketchikan High School to follow the plans set out by the Region 5 Board of Directors created a situation that placed the region and the participating schools in a dangerous and unnecessary situation. These actions can jeopardize school hours and future activities of other schools. This is unacceptable and future violations of Region 5 policies could result in Ketchikan High School being refused membership in Region 5 in the 2021-2022 school year. “

Ketchikan athletic director Cole Maxwell said in an email response that “the cause of the outbreak is believed to be a matter of public health or Ketchikan’s EOC.”

“Kayhi believed he was following the protocols, but misunderstood and was not,” noted Maxwell. “This action has been corrected and Kayhi will follow Region V’s fight mitigation plan to move forward. All spring activities are progressing and games canceled from this weekend are actively rescheduled. Kayhi received a warning from the Board of Directors of Region V.

Juneau-Douglas High School canceled their girls’ soccer trip to Ketchikan this weekend, as did the boys from Thunder Mountain.

Sitka High School had to cancel their home track and field meet and baseball games that would have featured the Ketchikan Kings.

The traditional Indigenous Youth Olympic Games were also affected, with the southern portion of the event scheduled to be held in Ketchikan being postponed.

Ketchikan hosted eight teams at the Region V Division II meeting last Friday, followed by their Bill Weiss tournament on Saturday. Teams from Craig, Haines, Metlakatla, Mt. Edgecumbe, Petersburg, Sitka, Thorne Bay and Wrangell participated.

Ketchikan also hosted a track and field competition that included teams from Haines, Petersburg and Sitka.

The communication also notes that an appeal can be filed with the Executive Committee within 30 days of the decision.

Some of the possible violations included failing to test wrestlers in an appropriate time period before the tournament and failing to meet masking requirements at the site. Masks are not mandatory during a match, but are at all other times on the site by wrestlers and fans.

ASAA Executive Director Billy Strickland said he was aware of the situation and it was being handled by Region 5.

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