Earlier this week, Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Jeffery Riley announced that students and staff at Massachusetts Kindergarten through 12th Grade schools will no longer be required to wear face coverings starting February 28th. That has now filtered down to high school athletes who play indoors, as the MIAA will move in lock-step with the whole of the school community.

Dr. Robert Baldwin, Executive Director of the MIAA sent out a memo today regarding the organization's masking policy, basically saying that MIAA athletes will no longer be required to wear masks while playing indoors.

It's not quite as simple as leaving masks on the bus...

The move does have some implications as we head into the winter tournament season. Even though the protocols will end at the end of the month, some schools may decide that they may still want to continue wearing masks for some time longer. This being the case, Dr. Baldwin said that visiting teams will adhere to host school and venue-specific restrictions.

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Here is what Dr. Baldwin sent out today:

Interscholastic athletics are an integral component of the educational program within our schools. Throughout this school year, the MIAA mask guidelines have been in lockstep with the protocols that take place during the school day.

To remain consistent with the DESE mask requirement update, beginning February 28, 2022, the MIAA mask-wearing protocols will end. Moving forward as we navigate the winter Statewide Tournament, we will adhere to host school and venue-specific restrictions. Member schools will need to communicate with and respect the specific protocols set forth at the local level. Anyone who chooses to wear a mask may continue to do so.

As we have learned throughout this ordeal, we will continue to monitor facts that we receive to inform future decision-making. I would like to commend the perseverance and understanding of all stakeholders as you have attempted to adhere to the arduous task of masking guidelines during this winter athletic season.

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The end of the school mask mandate will come just as we get set for the seeding meeting for the upcoming High School Basketball Tournament, which will be getting underway at the end of February.

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