State Dept. of Health mandates masks for indoor sports

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The most recent state Department of Health guidelines on masks in schools includes indoor sports, and will require all participants to wear masks when a minimum of six feet distance cannot be maintained.

Outdoor athletes do not have to wear masks. Swimmers also do not have to wear masks. Last winter, non-swimming sports allowed those who could not tolerate masks during competition to go without.

New York State Public High School Athletic Association Executive Director Robert Zayas asked whether last year’s tolerance clause was still in place. The state noted that it is not, other than in the case of a disability.

“We want to play,” RFA boys varsity basketball coach Nick Medicis said. “So whatever mandate is put out there, we’ll follow it, but it’s just confusing and there’s no consistency with it.”

RFA likes to play an uptempo style of basketball, and with wearing a mask, Medicis said, it will be tough to run and exercise with the masks. “It’s going to be difficult, especially with the way that we play. We like to run and that’s already tough as it is.”

“It’s only the middle of September so who knows what will change,” Medicis said.

RFA head hockey coach Jason Nowicki had a similar take to Medicis. “I think I speak for all of us in the RFA Hockey program when I say we just want to the opportunity to play this winter. Whether its masked up or not, my players are excited to get out there and play the game they love. Mask mandates are out of our control and the focus here is and will always be on the aspects of the game that we can control, like our work ethic and our character.”

“There’s not much that we can do,” RFA girls head basketball coach Al Bevilacqua added. “We want to play so we’ll follow whatever guidelines are given to us, whether we agree or disagree with it.”

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