Removing Masks: What it Means for Student Athletes in the Berkshires
Now that Governor Charlie Baker has announced that all remaining COVID-19 restrictions will be removed on May 29th, including the rescinding of the face covering order, parents of student athletes in the Berkshires may be wondering how this will affect their kids on the playing fields. The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association released information on that subject today.
The MIAA announced in an email to its member schools today that the announcement by Governor Baker and the MA Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs on May 17th regarding the removal of mandatory masks/facial coverings was reviewed and discussed by the MIAA Sports Medicine Committee Monday afternoon. The committee voted unanimously to recommend the approval of the new guidelines effective today.
According to the email, the recommendation was forwarded to MIAA President Jeffrey Granatino, MIAA Executive Director Bill Gaine and Task Force Chairs, Thom Holdgate and Dr. Keith Crowley. Commissioner Jeffrey Riley and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education also reviewed this recommendation. All constituents provided full approval.
You can review the updated guidelines HERE.
The MIAA also provided some clarification about these new guidelines:
- Athletes on spring teams in active play outdoors are NOT required to wear a mask/facial covering.
- Athletes when they are on the bench or in a dugout are NOT required to wear a mask/facial covering.
- Athletes in low-risk sports when indoors where a distance of at least 14 feet or more is consistently maintained between each participant, are NOT required to wear a mask/ facial covering.
- Spectators and chaperones, coaches, staff, referees, umpires and other officials who can socially distance while outdoors, are NOT required to wear a mask/face covering.
- Visitors, spectators, volunteers, and staff while indoors ARE required to wear mask/facial covering.
- All athletes participating in high school sports are considered youth and fall under youth guidelines.
The MIAA says that there are no changes to individual MIAA sport modifications other than the mask/facial covering mandate. As restrictions are lifted, a review of the EEA guidelines will continue through the MIAA governance process guided by the MIAA Sports Medicine Committee.