Michigan judge hears arguments over COVID tests for high school athletes, no ruling

A Michigan judge heard arguments from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s administration and attorneys for parents of high school athletes who are fighting the state's COVID-19 mandates including testing. However, he did not issue a ruling on either side.

The group Let Them Play Michigan is seeking an injunction to stop weekly COVID-19 tests, which kicked in on April 2 for athletes ages 13-19, related quarantines and mask requirements.

Organizer Jayme McElvany spoke Tuesday, saying that the emergency injunction is necessary.

"I’m not willing to sit back and cross my fingers and hope that all of this just goes away," she said. "That was asking them to halt the most recent rule handed down - the interim guidance for athletes being forced to test and for quarantine."

McElvany's son plays football, baseball, and runs track. She believes it’s the student-athlete who is stifled by unnecessary orders.

"This is why we are fighting such a disaster to have athletes test several times a week," she said. 

RELATED: Student-athletes must get weekly Covid tests to participate

The group argues that the policy must go through a formal rule-making procedure, a process that would take weeks or months. Critics have been encouraged by recent court victories by wrestlers who convinced judges to let them compete in state tournaments. They had repeatedly tested negative but were benched because of infections among other students.

Assistant Attorney General Darrin Fowler said the broader interests of public health far outweigh the group’s claim of injuries.

"Epidemics are unique situations that can evolve, just as we have seen COVID-19 evolve," he said, "and they require quick and malleable responses to meet the changing understanding of conditions on the ground."

But the lawyers for Let Them Play Michigan believe the epidemic orders are violations and cannot be enforced 

"We ask your honor to issue a preliminary injunction to prohibit the department from enforcing the current order," Let Them Play attorney Peter Ruddell said. "(It's) in violation of the state’s administrator’s procedure act."

Judge Michael Kelly said it was best not to render a decision on Tuesday.

"There are a couple of matters I have to look up on it but I’ll have something out as soon as I can," he said.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.