High school athletes, coaches and trainers participating in upcoming Season B athletics in the Aurora Public Schools system will be required to undergo COVID-19 testing twice a month. The district will offer the testing for free at schools beginning on Monday. (File photo by Courtney Oakes/Sentinel Colorado)

AURORA | Just over a week before the start of practices for Season B of the prep sports schedule, Aurora Public Schools has added a layer of protection it hopes to cut down the spread of COVID-19.

In an email sent out Friday evening to parents and guardians in the district, APS will require coaches, athletes and trainers who seek to participate in winter sports — boys and girls basketball, boys and girls wrestling, girls swimming and competitive cheer — to “follow strict COVID-19 health guidelines,” which includes testing twice a month, which will be provided free by the district.

The first tests are set to be administered Monday at Rangeview, APS Athletic Director Casey Powell told the Sentinel, while testing will also be available at Aurora Central, Gateway, Hinkley and Vista PEAK. Parents and guardians will be responsible for scheduling their students’ COVID-19 tests and can do so online.

“It was brought to me that if APS was going to participate in Season B and beyond, we had to have a testing protocol in place,” Powell said. “We were taking it slow and getting things in place when the dates changed and we had to go into another gear.

“Through the collective effort of the communications department, (APS Chief Operating Officer) Anthony Sturges, the high school ADs and especially David Schoenhals, we were able to put together and are ready for our first tests.”

Athletes, trainers and coaches will be divided into two groups and are required to be tested on alternating weeks according to the letter sent out by the district.

Powell said the mandates currently apply to Season B athletes and coaches, but that the structure of the free testing could continue until the end of school on May 27.

APS schools remain in remote learning and will begin to come back Jan. 19.

“Please know that health guidelines to ensure our student and staff safety are constantly evolving and may change throughout the upcoming athletic season,” the letter concluded. “We appreciate your support in implementing these updated practices to ensure everyone remains safe and healthy.”

Click here for more information on the APS testing program for athletes and coaches.

The Colorado High School Activities Association detailed the variances approved by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for Season B sports: boys and girls basketball (story), boys and girls wrestling (story), girls swimming (story) and ice hockey (story).

Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports

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