MIAA cancels order for outdoor sports masks; Some local districts still require face coverings / iBerkshires.com

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UPDATED 2:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon to include reaction from some local school districts.

FRANKLIN, Mass. – The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association announced Tuesday morning that it will no longer require student-athletes, coaches, officials or spectators to wear face covers at outdoor events this spring.

The change, which takes effect Tuesday, May 18, aligns high school sports in the state with the changes to youth sports announced by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito on Monday.

The MIAA released a statement Tuesday morning saying the state’s order to relax its mask mandate has been reviewed by the association’s sports medicine committee, which unanimously recommended approval of the guidelines. Commonwealth May 17.

The recommendation was reviewed by MIAA President Jeffrey Granatino, MIAA Executive Director Bill Gaine, and the chairs of the association’s COVID-19 task force.

“All constituents have given their full approval,” the statement read.

The MIAA statement notes that all other sport-specific changes put in place for the spring season remain in place. And individual schools are free to continue to require masks – in line with Gov. Charlie Baker’s statement on Monday that individual businesses are free to institute stricter restrictions than required by the Commonwealth.

At least one school district in Berkshire County remains with its existing face covering guidelines for the time being.

Mount Greylock athletic director Lindsey von Holtz circulated an email on Tuesday afternoon explaining that nothing had changed on the Williamstown campus following Tuesday’s MIAA decision.

Von Holtz cited the existing Mount Greylock Regional School District policy that is still in effect for athletes and spectators:

“A new or freshly washed face cover that covers the nose and mouth should be worn by all persons in school buildings, on school grounds, and on school transportation, even when social distancing is observed. masks must be multi-layered fabric face masks, with a tight weave, or paper surgical masks. Masks must completely cover the nose and mouth. The following masks are not acceptable: bandanas, neck warmers and buffs, and masks with exhalation valves. Masks will be required for all ages. “

Von Holtz said she will notify athletic directors of schools that will visit the Mount Greylock campus if and when the district school committee reconsiders the policy.

Pittsfield Public Schools at 2:30 p.m. issued a statement saying the district’s current masking policy remains in place:

“Current Pittsfield Public Schools policy states that a face mask that covers the nose and mouth must be worn by all persons in school buildings in Pittsfield, on school grounds in Pittsfield and on school transport. of Pittsfield, “reads the statement from Pittsfield / Taconic Athletic Director Jim Abel. “This includes students and staff involved in programming indoor and outdoor academic and sporting events held in Pittsfield, as well as visitors and spectators on the Pittsfield school grounds. This policy will remain in place until revoked by the Pittsfield Public Schools School Board. “

Hoosac Valley Sports Director Molly Meczywor announced that the Cheshire campus will follow MIAA guidelines, but specifically noted that unmasked spectators should remain in “their homes” and socially distanced from other spectators. Meczywor said that, for now, the Hoosac Valley District maintains its limits on the number of spectators who can attend games: four per athlete for baseball, softball and track and field and five per athlete for lacrosse.

At Lenox, student-athletes will be able to go mask-less, per Tuesday’s MIAA announcement, and spectators will need to follow the advice of the Commonwealth’s Energy and Environmental Affairs Executive Office, AD David Pugh said.

Wahconah AD Jared Shannon also said the Dalton campus will follow MIAA and EEA guidelines.

But as for state rules, Tuesday’s announcement means that, as of now, athletes in active play or on a bench or canoe are not required to wear a mask or face covering. – except local restrictions.

Likewise, spectators, coaches, referees and staff at events that may socially distance themselves to the outdoors will not be required to wear masks by the state association.

Visitors, spectators and staff will continue to be required to wear masks indoors during practice or practice. But low-risk sports athletes who can consistently maintain a distance of 14 feet or more will not be required to wear masks, according to Tuesday’s release.

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