Massachusetts student athletes, their coaches and officials will no longer be required to wear face masks for indoor activities starting Feb. 28, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association announced Friday.
This is in keeping with the latest Department of Elementary and Secondary Education guidance. Gov. Charlie Baker announced earlier this week that the statewide school mask mandate would end on Feb. 28, though local districts are still empowered to issue their own regulations. Masks will still be required on school buses, per federal regulations.
The MIAA said during the winter Statewide Tournament attendees will be expected to adhere to any regulations set by host schools or venues. Anyone who chooses to wear a mask can still do so, regardless of requirements.
"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," MIAA Executive Director Dr. Robert Baldwin said in a statement.
The state is advising that local districts take into account vaccination rates and other COVID-19 metrics when making decisions about mandates, and DESE will recommend that mask-wearing continue in certain scenarios. Boston Mayor Michelle Wu announced Thursday that Boston Public Schools will continue to require face masks past the Feb. 28 date, arguing that urban school districts may have more challenges than suburban schools in relaxing restrictions, including physical space restrictions and larger vaccination gaps.
The MIAA said their member schools will be expected to communicate and respect protocols set at local levels.