School Defends Mask Decision That Led to Forfeit

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Portsmouth Christian Academy, a New Hampshire private school, is defending its decision to not require its boys varsity soccer team to wear masks while competing against Newmarket High School — a decision that caused Newmarket to forfeit a tournament game.

The Union Leader Correspondent reports that Newmarket required its players to wear masks, and had secured agreement from scheduled opponents to also require masked play. On Monday, however, PCA and Newmarket were set to face off in a Division IV tournament game, one for which Newmarket hadn’t received a prior agreement for masked competition. 

In a statement, PCA athletic director Derek Summers defended his school, saying that PCA athletes hadn’t trained in masks. The decision not to mask up relied on school policy, as well as guidance from the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association, which do not require masks during games.

“Changing standards and requiring masks for a tournament game at this point is unfair and, based on our assessment, not required,” he said.

David Goodman, whose son is a senior on the Newmarket team, expressed disappointment in PCA.

“As a parent here in Newmarket, it feels like they ran away from us to get an easy win and get us to forfeit. It’s an easy ask to put on a mask and play a game against a division rival, but they didn’t and they’ve got to live with that,” he said.

Meanwhile, PCA has announced positive COVID cases at the school, all involving fourth graders. 

Newmarket’s girls’ team also forfeited a game on Tuesday when their opponent — Epping High School — was not required to wear masks. Newmarket and Epping played a masked contest during the regular season, and Epping superintendent William Furbush said the team was “saddened that they lost this opportunity to play.”


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