Mid-Penn announces mask requirement for winter sports, visiting fans barred
Following a meeting the day before, the Mid-Penn Conference announced on Wednesday that it will require all participants in winter sports events to wear face masks.
The decision comes weeks after the Department of Health announced a similar mandate.
"These protocols are being put in place to help reduce the possible spread of the COVID-19 virus among our student-athletes, coaching staffs and members of our community," the conference said in an official release. "The focus of these protocols is, first, the safety and well-being of those who participate. The MPC strongly believes following these common safety protocols will allow our schools to provide safer educational opportunities for all participants."
Per the announcement on Twitter, the mandate applies to "participants, assigned PIAA officials and support staff" in any game that takes place in the Mid-Penn, specifying that the mask must cover the nose and mouth.
Swimmers and divers do not have to wear a face covering while in the pool but must wear them while not in competition.
Athletes who deem it unsafe to wear a face mask in competition will need a doctor's note more than 24 hours before a contest specifying that, per the conference, which also notes that the situation could result in the cancellation of the game due to unsafe conditions. Such a scenario would be ruled a no contest, with no penalty to either team.
Beyond the mask requirement, the conference also announced that visiting fans will not be permitted at any games. Schools will be required to set home fan limits based on their specific gymnasiums' occupancy.
In the release, the conference noted that these policies can be updated during the season, which is set to being divisional play on Jan. 4.