A Washington state public high school has been condemned for forcing student athletes to wear ankle bracelets to help with COVID track and tracing efforts.
Eatonville High School bought the monitors, made by a company called Triax, for both coaches and students in high-contact and moderate-contact sports.
Students who play volleyball, basketball, football and soccer are required by the school to wear the device.
The ‘TraceTag’ has visual and audible sensors that alert students when they are too close to each other, while also collecting contact-trace data later used to identify which students have had contact with other players who have tested positive for COVID-19.
That means it could be used to alert a student if they’d been in close contact with someone who has the virus.
According to the manufacturer’s website, the device can be attached to a hat or a helmet or be worn in the body.
Both vaccinated and unvaccinated students at Eatonville are currently required to wear the devices, but only unvaccinated students are required to quarantine for 14 days in case of a positive case of COVID-19 detected in the contact-trace data.
The device, meant to collect contact-trace data in case of COVID-19 infections, was likened to the ankle monitors used by individuals under house arrest.
But the move sparked widespread anger among parents after it was reported online, with many outraged at the similarity to devices used to track criminals on bail or probation.
The black TraceTag – pictured on this information sheet – was affixed to some student athletes’ ankles for COVID test and tracing purposes, sparking fury among parents.
Eatonville High School in Washington State infuriated parents by making student athletes wear tracking devices
‘Over my dead body, My kids would not participate and very well may take them out of school and do online schooling if I had kids in that school.
‘Ankle monitors are for criminals not children,’ commented Holly Laubsch on a Facebook post.
The measure has been deemed extreme and invasive, as vaccine and mask mandates have prompted a heated debate in states across the US, and fears of government overreach grow among parents.