Lancaster Lebanon League will require athletes to wear masks at all times

Sports

Lancaster Lebanon League will require all athletes to wear masks during practice and competitions for winter sports, excluding swimming.

The League’s athletic directors voted on Thursday morning to create a consistent mask policy across the board. Schools were concerned that one school may require masks during competition, while another may not require masks, leading to inconsistency during competition.

On Nov. 17, the Department of Health released a renewed mask mandate, requiring everyone to wear masks indoors whenever individuals from more than one family are present. The PIAA Board has urged schools to add mask language to their health and safety guidelines, while also advising schools to contact their solicitors to determine whether the school qualifies for an exemption to the DOH mask mandate.

The Department of Health addressed sports in its Frequently Asked Questions portion of the DOH website:

Does the Order apply to athletes and sports activities?
Yes. Everyone who participates in sport activities including coaches, athletes (including cheerleaders), and spectators must wear a face covering, such as a mask, unless they fall under an exception in Section 3 of the Order.

Indoors: Coaches, athletes (including cheerleaders), and spectators must wear face coverings, when indoors and where another person or persons who are not members of the individual’s household are present in the same space, irrespective of physical distance. This includes while actively engaged in workouts, competition, and on the sidelines, etc.

Outdoors: Coaches, athletes (including cheerleaders), and spectators must wear face coverings if they cannot maintain sustained physical distance from persons outside of their household. This includes while actively engaged in workouts, competition, and on the sidelines, in the dugout, etc. If sustained six-foot distancing can be maintained, face coverings may be removed when outdoors.

The PIAA expressed its concerns for athletes wearing masks in sports such as swimming, citing concerns of students getting enough oxygen when coming up out of the water between strokes. The group also has concerns for wrestling, in that an athlete could cause injury to his/her opponent by pulling the mask side to side.

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