MIAA Issues Mask Mandate for Indoor Activities; Outdoor Optional

August 26, 2021 / Athletic AdministrationCoaching
Update at 9:36 AM on 8/26/21: The MIAA  will require high school student-athletes and coaches who participate in indoor activities to wear masks for at least the first few weeks of the season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report from MassLive.com. Masking for outdoor activities remains optional at this time. 

The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) decided against issuing guidance on whether student-athletes should wear masks during competition, instead leaving the decision to the individual school boards and local communities.

The decision falls in line with Governor Charlie Baker, according to a report from The Boston Globe, as he has previously rejected a statewide mask mandate in schools, but didn’t rule out the future possibility.

miaaIn the Globe’s report, the MIAA board met this week to discuss the policy ahead of the 2021 fall season and did not receive a recommendation from the MIAA’s Sports Medicine Committee, which met Monday to discuss the mandates.

There were concerns voiced during Wednesday’s board meeting, particularly around what happens when two schools with different rules play each other. The host school will be in charge of the mask rules, in that case, according to a report from MassLive.com.

In unrelated news, the MIAA board also weighed in on the newly approved NIL policies from the NCAA. While amateur athletes may engage in activities consistent with state law, the Globe reported, the board cited Rule 47 as the definition of amateurism, warning that any compensation related to a student’s participation with high school athletics would result in the loss of amateur status.

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During a recap of the unprecedented 2020-21 school year because of the pandemic, president Lindsey von Holtz said the MIAA received a $350,000 grant via the federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to help fund postseason events, including track meets and golf tournaments. Gaine provided a further summary of the spring 2021 state tournaments, which featured 22,346 student-athletes, 1,314 teams, 983 events at host sites, and 11 events for track and golf.

Bill Gaine, the MIAA’s executive director, served in his final meeting this week, as he is set to retire. He is the longest-tenured high school executive of the nation’s 51 state associations, was one of four original staff MIAA members. He developed the association’s Student Services Program and founded the MIAA’s Partners in Prevention, a network of more than 65 agencies in Massachusetts that assist schools with prevention and healthy lifestyle resources for students.

To read the full article from The Boston Glover on the MIAA meeting, click here