PIAA Offers Guidance For Mask Wearing

Masks will be required on the sidelines and dugout — but not during play — according to the body that governs high school sports in Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) released a statement that clarifies what Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine’s expanded mask requirements mean for athletes across the commonwealth.

Unless someone falls into an exception outlined in the order, the guidance is simple: “Everyone must wear a face covering,” according to the PIAA.

“Coaches, athletes and spectators must wear face coverings unless they are outdoors and can consistently maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet,” the statement explains. “Athletes are not required to wear face coverings while actively engaged in workouts and competition that prevent the wearing of face coverings, but must wear face coverings when on the sidelines, in the dugout, etc. and anytime 6 feet of social distancing is not possible.

“We are tremendously appreciative of the Department of Health and the Department of Education for providing guidance and answers to the many frequently asked questions,” PIAA Executive Director Dr. Robert Lombardi said. “This information will greatly assist PIAA member schools, their administration and staffs with the information needed to continue their voluntary, summer workout programs.”

PIAA said that local Health and Safety plans would need to be updated but should be “flexible enough to contemplate any future change in conditions” given the “volatility and uncertainty of the COVID-19 virus.

“While the order must be implemented immediately,” PIAA said, “plan approval, if necessary, should occur at the next board meeting.”


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