High school volleyball players to wear masks while playing
With high school sports opening this week, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association released new guidelines for volleyball as well as reiterated COVID-19 protocols.
According to Commissioner Que Tucker, masks will be required for all participants of volleyball practices and contests including while players are playing. This marks a change from the rules passed in October which only required masks for those sitting on the bench, officials and coaches.
All indoor skill development participants will be wearing a mask at all times as well.
“We believe this is a necessary and safe step to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” Tucker said in a press conference Monday.
Tucker also said several volleyball teams have reported to the state being in quarantine due to positive tests.
“Would this have happened had we had a mandate in place for wearing the masks? We cannot know for sure, however, it is my personal belief…had we not taken the step to do something, our ability to be able to play volleyball and complete a season perhaps would not be possible,” Tucker said.
Tucker said the masks were also necessary because the state’s COVID-19 numbers “were not heading in the right direction,” adding the numbers needed to be decreasing.
The mask mandate will not involve basketball when the season begins, she continued.
The commissioner also said other sports not in-season, like basketball, should not be conducting practices since they are considered “out of season” and are not permitted to practice as a team.
“No official practices may begin until the very first day as indicated on our calendar,” Tucker said.
Out-of-season sports may conduct skill development sessions intended for individual athletes.
Swimming and diving are scheduled to start practice this Monday.