The PIAA has given its latest updates regarding student athletes and their ability to practice safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is an update following Governor Wolf’s latest release across the state of Pennsylvania:
In light of the Order Requiring Universal Face Coverings announced July 1, 2020 by the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, a list of answers to questions you may have regarding the application of this order in school settings is included below. Please reference this guidance as you plan to keep your students, staff, and school communities safe.
The Department of Education (PDE) and the Department of Health (DOH) authored some FAQ’s for the recent wearing a mask order signed by Secretary of Health, Dr. Rachel Levine.
Does the Order apply to athletes and sports activities?
Yes. Everyone must wear a face covering, such as a mask, unless they fall under an exception listed in Section 3 of the Order. Coaches, athletes and spectators must wear face coverings unless they are outdoors and can consistently maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet. Athletes are not required to wear face coverings while actively engaged in workouts and competition that prevent the wearing of face coverings, but must wear face coverings when on the sidelines, in the dugout, etc. and anytime 6 feet of social distancing is not possible.
PDE & DOH used the identical language in issuing their responses to this question. In addition to the attached documents, here is the link to the DOH Mask Guidance. https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Guidance/Universal-Masking-FAQ.aspx
Further, we believe it is important to note that if you do not already have this information in your Health and Safety Plan, please refer to the following information to update your plan.
Do schools need to update/amend their Health and Safety Plans if they have already been submitted to PDE?
Health and Safety Plans must reflect this Order. Understanding the volatility and uncertainty of the COVID-19 virus, plans should be flexible enough to contemplate any future change in conditions.
Do updated/revised Health and Safety Plans need to be re-approved by local school boards?
Yes. While the Order must be implemented immediately, plan approval, if necessary, should occur at the next board meeting.
Do updated/revised Health and Safety Plans need to be resubmitted to PDE?
Yes. PDE should always have the most recently approved Health and Safety Plans on file for each Local Education Agency (LEA).