PIAA seeks clarification on mask order for high school sports

Sports

PIAA has requested guidance on the state’s renewed mask mandate, signed into order on November 17th, just three days before the start of winter sports in the state. The PIAA looks to clarify whether students would be required to wear masks during practice and competition.

Following the board meeting, the PIAA board has urged schools to add mask mandate language to health and safety plans. The PIAA also plans to petition lawmakers for leniency in the mandate for athletes.

This is a developing story and this article will be updated as abc27 learns more from the PIAA’s board meeting on Wednesday afternoon.

As released by the Department of Health, and Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine, the new mask mandate covers the following scenarios:

  • Masks are required to be worn indoors and outdoors if you are away from your home.
  • When outdoors, a mask must be worn if you are not able to remain physically distant (at least 6 feet away) from someone not in your household the entire time you are outdoors.
  • When indoors, masks will now be required even if you are physically distant from members not in your household. This means that even if you are able to be 6 feet apart, you will need to wear a mask while inside if with people other than members of your household. 
  • This order applies to every indoor facility, including homes, retail establishments, gyms, doctors’ offices, public transportation, and anywhere food is prepared, packaged or served.

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.

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