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Complaints on wrestling suspension prompt Clark County Board of Health meeting

Meeting to be held online Tuesday morning

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:

Dozens of residents who called in to Friday’s Clark County Council meeting have prompted a special meeting of the Board of Health to be held Tuesday.

Although the Dec. 17 public hearing was to be a forum for comments on a proposed fireworks ordinance, callers instead were upset by Public Health’s recommendation that public schools should suspend wrestling competition, practice and travel after more than 30 COVID-19 cases were detected among local wrestlers. The suspension is in effect until Jan. 3.

“I would like to talk about freedom,” Alex Proudfoot told the council. “I would like to know how long the Clark County Council can go ahead and not talk about what we really want to talk about, not have meetings in person.”

Under state law, county council members also serve as the Board of Health.

Despite repeated requests from the council to limit comments to the fireworks ordinance, many callers continued to raise objections to the Public Health’s recommendations and other pandemic mandates.

“We labeled this (public hearing) as an emergency meeting, and we definitely have an emergency. I’m on the front lines with young people ages 5 to 18 for four hours a day, four days a week. Our young people … are hurting and are in need,” said wrestling coach Damon McPherson.

After several callers said another meeting should be scheduled as soon as possible, the council agreed to the Dec. 21 date. The meeting begins at 10 a.m. and will be held online. For the meeting agenda and link, go to clark.wa.gov/councilors/clark-county-council-meetings.

The Washington State Department of Health also on Friday announced new health and safety requirements for high-contact indoor winter sports following statewide COVID-19 outbreaks statewide linked to high school wrestling tournaments.

Under the new requirements, all athletes, coaches and other personnel for basketball, wrestling, competitive cheer, and water polo must complete COVID-19 testing three times per week, regardless of vaccination status. One test must be conducted at least 24 hours before a contest. Previous guidance called for unvaccinated athletes to be tested twice per week.

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