Tennessee high school sports will not be mandating masks for their players or sporting events, according to the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA). The athletic association is currently adhering to some of the rules that were instituted for the fall 2020 season, which include distancing and in some cases limiting onlooker capacity for sporting events.
Matthew Gillespie, the assistant executive director of TSSAA, said these rules might change.
He said, “We’re not there yet, and hopefully we don’t have to go back to it, but it is a fluid situation — one that we’re constantly keeping our eye on.”
Gillespie said, “Of course, things look a little different this year than they did last year, but we still have to be cognizant of everything with cases rising and the new variant out there, so I think we’re certainly being cautious about that.”
According to WKRN, if a team has to postpone a game due to COVID, the game must be rescheduled and if that is not possible, the opposing team is given a win for that game.
Some fall football games have already been postponed due to COVID-related issues. The Washington County Tennessee Director of Schools Jerry Boyd said that while masks are not mandatory, students could “consider wearing a mask” during practices though he admitted wearing masks “may not be practical.”
Boyd said, “In an environment like practice, masks may not be practical, and they’re deemed impractical in a lot of athletic situations, but you can consider wearing a mask and encourage those to look at vaccination as an option for them, consult with their doctor and make sure it’s something they should do and would do.”
Boyd encouraged spectators at high school sporting events to be vaccinated and to stay distanced if possible. He requested spectators mask up if maintaining social distancing wasn’t possible.
TSSAA Executive Director Bernard Childress reportedly said, “This Delta variant is attacking our young people more than it is anyone else and our school people are well aware of that, we want to make sure we emphasize to them, we’re going to do everything we possibly can to make sure our student athletes are safe at all times. We do have protocols in place [however] they are not as strict as they were this time last year.”
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