Eva Khalil, starter on the Novi girls varsity basketball team, had her season cut short due to contact tracing at Novi High School.
Khalil has been playing basketball for nine years and is a power forward. Her junior season was quickly taken away from her after sitting next to a classmate who tested positive for COVID-19.
“They called me down to the attendance office on March 18th, handed me some tissues, and basically said I have to quarantine from school and all activities for 10 days,” Khalil said.
Khalil’s quarantine will be up on March 27, but that was not soon enough. Khalil missed a crossover game, and a district playoff game March 24, as well as the district championship on March 26, which Farmington Hills Mercy won, 55-38.
“Devastated is an understatement at this point,” Khalil said. “It’s so hard not being there especially when I tested negative.”
Khalil tested negative after she was informed of the contact tracing and has been in quarantine since.
Many of Khalil’s teammates and friends have advocated for her return using the hashtag “letevaplay” on social media platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter.
“The hashtag started after our athletic director released the whole hockey team from quarantine early but not me,” Khalil said. “Everyone was very confused and upset about the entire situation.”
Khalil’s teammates, parents and coaches have all contacted the athletic director via email and Twitter to make Khalil’s voice louder.
Samantha Maday, junior teammate said, “As a team we had a meeting with Athletic Director Brian Gordon during school on Tuesday, March 23, just to get more answers about the situation, however Oakland County is really in charge of all final decisions so the school’s hands were tied.”
The basketball team started posting on its social media that it was unfair for Khalil to miss the end of their season. They asked friends and other students to repost the hashtag and photo as well.
“When the team posted a picture of Eva with the hashtag on each of our stories, the high school students responded well and shared their support for Eva,” Maday said.
As Eva’s supporters’ voices got louder, the high school administrators became frustrated because they thought that the hashtag was showing disrespect toward the school nurse.
“That was never our intention,” Maday said. “All we wanted was for Eva to be heard.”
“This experience has been very frustrating and mentally exhausting, but there’s only so much people can do,” Khalil said. “I am just hoping for the best and hopefully everything works out for the better.”