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MIAA to force HS basketball and other indoor winter sports to wear masks

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High school sports

The guidelines will be reassessed on January 15, 2022.

Newton North High Abigail Wright and Riley Raker block Needham High Ellie Streeper. The mask’s mandate for HS indoor athletes in the fall will continue through the winter. Photo by Matthew J Lee / Globe Staff

Massachusetts high school athletes participating in indoor winter sports during the 2021-22 season will be required to wear masks, according to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA).

The new guidelines follow the rules established for the fall 2021 season and apply to coaches, athletes, school staff and spectators.

“This information is consistent with that of the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education [DESE], and established by the Education Commissioner, ”wrote MIAA Executive Director Bob Baldwin in a letter to member schools. “Continue the practice of communicating with member schools that may or may not have reached the 80% immunization threshold. “

DESE will reassess its guidelines on January 15, when the MIAA will decide whether to allow athletes to unmask. Until then, the guidelines remain in place at all institutions, whether or not they are affiliated with a school.

“Although masking guidelines may vary at facilities and off-campus sites, please treat practices and competitions as school events and adhere to the (state) guideline,” Baldwin wrote. In addition, be respectful of the policies and expectations set forth in school districts and local communities and continue to communicate with member schools that may or may not have reached the 80 percent immunization threshold.

The guidelines were released at a time when positive COVID tests have again peaked since February. A Boston-area doctor told Boston.com that the increase in the number of cases is “alarming”, especially as Thanksgiving approaches.

“The situation is worrying given the rising numbers, increasing wastewater data and all the domestic events that are going to occur over the next few weeks,” said Dr David Hamer.