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Tri-State Championship swim meet in Monett takes precautions to protect kids from COVID-19

Published: Aug. 7, 2021 at 9:56 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 7, 2021 at 10:14 PM CDT
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MONETT, Mo. (KY3) - Some children around the Ozarks have been hospitalized due to COVID-19, and leaders are starting to take measures to help keep kids safe.

Tri-State Conference officials took precautionary measures during a swimming championship meet this weekend in Monett to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Swimmers from Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma gathered Saturday for the conference championship meet. Pandemic restrictions prevented the meet from happening last year, but officials were happy to get swimmers back in the water.

“We’re like family. We get to know kids from other teams, and they become our family,” said Meri Smith Vice President Tri-State Swimming.

After seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases and the Delta variant having a strong impact on children, Tri-State officials decided they wanted to implement some precautions.

“We’ve done everything we can to keep kids and swimmers safe. We asked everybody to wear a mask in the building,” said parent Allison Heider. “We’ve got people in their crash pads outside. We have entrances and exits, so flow goes in one direction and people minimally have to cross each other.”

Anyone over the age of 2, vaccinated or not, was required to wear a mask inside. In previous years, families could sit inside the Monett YMCA to keep cool between their child’s events. This year, everyone was asked to sit outside.

10-year-old Gianna Cavnar has been swimming for five years. She said wearing a mask took some getting used to, but she thinks it helps keep her and her friends safe.

“My parents and my brother can get vaccinated, but kids like me and my friends can’t get vaccinated. But masks help you be safer,” said Cavnar. “It’s like, I want to get vaccinated, but I can’t.”

“So I think I think it’s important because you do have people, I am actually one of them that are at high-risk, and it’s important to protect yourself and to protect others,” said parent Shay Wright.

Swimmers were asked to wear a mask until it was their turn to compete. They were given a Ziploc bag at the start of their race to keep their masks in so they wouldn’t get wet while they raced.

Parents were asked to leave the spectating area after each event to limit the number of people in the building. All to help the competitors finish strong.

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