Indoor winter sports athletes will wear masks | Sports
The state of California has been one of the most restrictive in regulations to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Since mid-summer, masks must be worn indoors in virtually all types of businesses and activities.
Following these guidelines from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) has asked all of its member schools to mandate the wearing of masks by participants in indoor sports.
“We have received reports of coaches who had their players wearing masks visiting a school where those players are not,” Sac-Joaquin Section Assistant Commissioner Will DeBoard told the Herald recently. “We have made it clear that in regards to the playoffs, which we are hosting, all players, coaches and fans will be wearing masks.”
This will, of course, be the situation as long as current mask mandates remain in place, as directed by the CRPD.
“Students are required to wear masks indoors in educational facilities and on school transportation,” the CDPH wrote in a Sept. 22 directive on reopening public schools for this fall. “That includes weight rooms, locker rooms and school buses, even though the sport itself is played outdoors.”
And, of course, the CDPH and the CIF can enact rules, but the local schools are the ones who find themselves in charge of the application.
Trying to oversee these mask mandates at every sports venue can cause problems. As DeBoard’s statement indicates, some schools have failed to enforce state guidelines.
“The inconsistency from school to school is frustrating,” Liberty Ranch High School principal Joe Saramago told the Herald. “Then they come to our school and we’re the ‘bad guy’ for trying to enforce it. Everyone who comes in knows the rules and we expect them to follow them.
Saramago said that, for the most part, most viewers were “pretty cooperative.” And, although athletes have some “reluctance”, Saramago said most athletes see masks as a “temporary inconvenience”.
What if they don’t comply?
In a CIF Sac-Joaquin Chapter memo dated Oct. 12, commissioner Michael Garrison said that if a team fails to comply with the directive, “the opponent may file a contest protest.”
Additionally, Garrison said schools refusing to comply with the CDPH mask requirement “may be removed from the playoff tournament.”
The memo defines non-compliance as wearing the mask under the nose and mouth or under the chin.
DeBoard says masks will be required for all basketball players, but when it comes to wrestling, masks can pose a choking hazard in the midst of competition.
“Wrestlers will be required to do weekly (COVID-19) testing,” DeBoard said.
All of these COVID-19 precautions could change at the end of this month.
“The CDPH will continue to assess the conditions on an ongoing basis and will determine, no later than November 1, 2021, whether to update the mask requirements or recommendations,” they wrote in the directive dated 22 September.
This may be good news for indoor winter sports, basketball and wrestling. Training for both sports begins November 1.
Galt Herald editor Bonnie Rodriguez contributed to this article.