High school athletes in Massachusetts are no longer required to wear masks while competing.
The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association announced Tuesday that, after nearly a full school year of masking due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the MIAA approved a recommendation from the MIAA Sports Medicine Committee that facial coverings are no longer required for prep athletes.
Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker announced Monday that all of the state’s remaining COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted by Memorial Day weekend.
That sparked the MIAA’s changes, with the association clarifying that the new policies mean:
- 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 social 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 Patriot Ledger reported that boys’ volleyball players and wrestlers competing indoors still have to wear masks in Massachusetts.
“As has been the case throughout the year, the final decision for a school to partake in a particular sport and/or to follow more stringent guidelines belongs at the local level,” the MIAA’s release reads.
Connecticut is taking a different route. According to the Hartford Courant, the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference plans on keeping its current mask policies in place through the rest of the spring season.
The CIAC requires athletes participating in outdoor sports to wear masks while not actively competing. Only indoor sports and boys’ volleyball require masks to be worn during competition.