Vote mishap means DIAA athletes must keep masks on

By Tim Mastro
Posted 4/8/21

DOVER — Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association athletes will continue to wear masks during games and practices after the DIAA board did not have enough voting members to form a quorum on …

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Vote mishap means DIAA athletes must keep masks on

Posted

DOVER — Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association athletes will continue to wear masks during games and practices after the DIAA board did not have enough voting members to form a quorum on an emergency regulation vote at the end of a seven-hour meeting Thursday.

DIAA board president and Sussex Central High principal Dr. Bradley Layfield proposed the emergency regulation which would have made DIAA follow last week’s order by Gov. John Carney lifting mask requirements for low-and medium-risk outdoor sports.

The regulation passed unanimously 9-0, before the board realized it was one vote short of a quorum. A recess followed to find more available members but the board was unable to.

“I’m afraid people are going to think we’re buffoons if we don’t get this vote,” Dr. Layfield said before the recess.

The DIAA can still create an emergency meeting in the next several days to hold another vote, an idea discussed as the meeting drew to a close. The board has until April 15 to place the mask emergency regulation on the Delaware State Board of Education’s agenda for its meeting on April 22.

The emergency regulation regarding masks came after the DIAA board had discussed and voted on such items as coaching out of season, spring tournament schedules, football tournament procedures for next fall and an extension of the football season. There were more than 20 items on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting which went more than seven hours.

Gov. Carney issued his order last week to allow low-and medium-risk sports to be played and practiced outdoors without masks and which applies to youth and amateur sports. Masks must be worn when not actively participating in the game or practice.

However DIAA Regulation 1011 5.6, issued prior to this school year, requires student athletes to wear a face covering at all times. The DIAA reaffirmed this position last week, stating all spring sport athletes, with the exception of golf, still should wear masks. The emergency regulation voted on at Thursday’s meeting would have replaced this previous regulation if it had passed.

The medium-risk sports in question are sports where social distancing is not able to happen at all times or the sport uses a shared ball. For the DIAA’s spring sports, this includes baseball, softball, girl’s soccer and girls’ lacrosse. Low-risk sports are mostly individual sports such as golf, tennis and track.

High-risk sports will still have to wear face coverings even if the DIAA passes an emergency regulation, per Gov. Carney’s order. The only high-risk DIAA sports played in the spring are boys’ lacrosse and rugby.

Masks also will continue to be required at all times for all indoor sports and activities. Masks must be worn when not actively participating in the game or practice, even if outdoors, per Gov. Carney’s order.

Last week’s order also says coaches, referees, spectators and other staff are still required to wear masks during games, practices and team meetings, plus the social distancing requirement of 6 feet remains, except when actively engaged in practice or game play while on the field.