Ketchikan School District Responds to ASAA Warning Letter

    Wrestlers from Ketchikan and Mt. Edgecumbe High School compete at the Brandon Pilot Invitational in Juneau earlier this season. (Klas Stolpe)

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The acting superintendent of the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District released a statement responding to the warning letter from the Region V Executive Committee of the Alaska Schools Activities Association concerning Ketchikan High School not following the COVID-19 mitigation plans for wrestling events last month.

      Acting Superintendent Katie Parrott by email said the district was in “receipt of the warning issued to Ketchikan High School by Region V regarding policy violations at a Ketchikan-hosted regional wrestling event. The District is in the process of gathering information regarding the circumstances of the allegations outlined in the warning letter, and has 30 days to review and respond in writing to Region V’s warning. Once the District completes a comprehensive analysis of the situation, a response will be provided outlining any steps that will be implemented to address identified concerns. We want to ensure that our approach and response is based on a clear, factual understanding of what happened and how best to resolve it.”

      Parrott wrote: “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. 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.”

      The warning letter sent by Region V Executive Committee President Jaime Cabral to Ketchikan high and ASAA Executive Director Billy Strickland stated: “Due to Ketchikan High School’s actions, Region 5 schools and communities have been subjected to unnecessary health and safety risks related to COVID-19. This letter is to be considered a 'warning' from the Region 5 Executive Committee. The undue stress on all communities and participating schools could have and should have been avoided. Ketchikan High School’s failure to follow the plans as set forth by the Region 5 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. This is unacceptable and future violations of Region 5 policies may result in Ketchikan High School being denied membership in Region 5 in the 2021-2022 school year.”

      As a result of a positive COVID-19 participant in the April 24 Bill Weiss Tournament in Ketchikan, which included nine Southeast wrestling teams, a number of Southeast schools cancelled events. 

      Juneau-Douglas High School and Thunder Mountain High School canceled their girls and boys, respectively, soccer trips to Ketchikan the following weekend. Sitka High School canceled its home track meet and baseball games that would have featured the Ketchikan Kings. At least one Southeast athlete was quarantined and the Native Youth Olympics Traditional Games were also affected, with the southern portion of the event that was to be held in Ketchikan rescheduled to later in May.

      Parrott noted that any questions regarding this press statement should be directed to the superintendent's office at 907-247-2109.

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