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Indoor high school sports to require masks during competition

With volleyball slated to begin, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) informed members this week that all student athletes will be required to wear a mask during competition play.

The NCHASS informed members via email this week that after several volleyball teams across the state have ended up in quarantine due to exposure and positive COVID19 cases, in order to allow the season to move forward, masks will be mandated.

Effective immediately, all people participating in indoor skill development sessions are required to wear a mask at all times, including athletes, coaches, and support staff.

That mandate will extend to volleyball practices and contests beginning next week. All volleyball players will be required to wear a mask, even when participating in competitions.

The changes were made at the recommendation of the NCHSAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee and with input from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

State officials addressed the issue during a press conference on Thursday.

“Something like volleyball, where there is space between players, but volleyball as you know is played indoors, we already recommend that the athletes wear a face covering if it can be tolerated,” said Dr. Mandy Cohen, the Secretary of NCDHHS, on Thursday afternoon during a press conference about COVID-19. “I support wearing face coverings when at all possible, particularly for something like volleyball where you are indoors.”

Previous guidance from the NCHSAA required athletes to wear masks at all times unless they were actively engaged in physical activity. Some schools and school districts had already planned to require masks for volleyball athletes during play. The guidelines have now been updated to include wearing masks during physical activity as well. 

“Collectively we must do everything we can to mitigate against the continuing spread of COVID-19, and it is our belief that the above steps will assist those efforts,” the NCHSAA told its members on Thursday.

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