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VHSL changes course, won’t require face masks during training, games

Posted at 11:19 AM, Dec 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-14 18:17:17-05

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- In a change of course Monday, the Virginia High School League announced it will not require students-athletes and coaches to wear masks during training and competition.

This comes after the VHSL announced on December 10 that students and coaches must wear masks while participating in sports, following the recommendations of the Virginia Department of Health and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

VHSL said the December 10 guidance was issued in response to information that the Governor’s requirement to wear face coverings would include such a provision.

However, Executive Order 72 when issued stated that face coverings requirements “do not apply to "individuals exercising or using exercise equipment.”

“VHSL apologizes for any confusion created by its original release,” said VHSL Executive Director, Dr. John W. “Billy” Haun. “We ask the public to understand that it is the first mission of VHSL to make sure that athletics are conducted in a safe and healthy environment, and it was that desire that motivated the original decision.”

The VHSL said they are is reissuing its guidance to say that face masks are “strongly encouraged” but not required.

Officials say each school can continue to exercise its discretion and judgment on face masks while competing.