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Texas Games Canceled, as States Set Mask Mandates

Brock Fritz

Just like 12 months ago, states are currently making decisions on how to proceed with high school sports.

According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, the New Mexico Public Education Department made two decisions Tuesday, announcing a mask-wearing requirement for outdoor sports before removing the regulation later that day. The state is still requiring all participants to wear masks during indoor sports, while Massachusetts schools are operating under the same circumstances after the state’s mask mandate went into effect Wednesday.

CBS Boston reported that the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education held a special meeting Tuesday, voting to give state education commissioner Jeffrey Riley the authority to implement a universal school mask mandate for indoor activities.

“That would also stay true for your outdoor sports, so if you have a soccer player that needs to go inside to the locker room or go see the athletic trainer they would need to put on their mask,” Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association director of communications Tara Bennett said.

The Massachusetts mask mandate is currently scheduled to be lifted Oct. 1 if schools have a vaccination rate of at least 80 percent. Unvaccinated students will have to continue wearing masks.

New Mexico updated its COVID-19 response toolkit for public and charter schools on Tuesday morning, requiring all athletes, coaches and spectators for outdoor sports — football, soccer and cross country — to wear masks, which was the case in the state last spring.

However, at 5 p.m. Tuesday, New Mexico Public Education Department secretary designate Kurt Steinhaus updated the announcement, saying that mask usage is recommended but not required during outdoor events. Department spokeswoman Carolyn Graham said a revised toolkit for schools is in progress.

According to the New Mexican, Santa Fe Public Schools athletic director Marc Ducharme said it is possible the district requires masks for all spectators, media members and coaches for outdoor events.

NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth reported that a number of Texas high schools have canceled their season-opening games due to the pandemic.

According to NBC 5, Ranchview High School canceled its game Friday due to two coronavirus cases. In the Dallas Independent School District, Thomas Jefferson vs. North Dallas, Pinkston vs. Venus and Carter vs. Arlington Sequin have also been canceled. Arlington Sequin has rescheduled and will play Northwest Eaton on Friday.

“Either somebody’s been in contact or somebody tested positive,” said Silvia Salinas, Dallas ISD executive director of athletics. “The team we have in place to help follow through with the protocols and communicate the protocols is top-notch.”

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