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Youth sports COVID guidelines released

Masks recommended at all times
Posted at 6:45 PM, Aug 24, 2021

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — School COVID-19 guidance has been released by the Erie County Health Department.

Now, athletic departments across the county are working to put plans in place to protect students.

“Virtually all of it is what we went through last year,” said Jim Mauro, the Athletic Director for Canisius High School.

Mauro says he and his players were hopeful that with increased vaccination rates, masks would be optional.

“I think it’s a little disappointing,” he said. “Unfortunately our numbers are trending in a different direction right now, and it doesn’t come as a complete shock.”

He says Canisius had a coaches meeting and he told the staff to “prepare for mandates.”

Those mandates, coming from the Erie County Department of Health include sports guidelines for high risk sports like football, basketball, hockey and field hockey.

The Erie County Department of Health requires:

-masking at all times when players are not directly involved in physical activity

-masking at all times for coaches and trainers

-3ft of distance when not engaged in physical activity

The ECDOH encourages student athletes wear masks during play, unless the student cannot tolerate it.

“I think it’s going to be a little harder for people who have gotten custom to not wearing a mask,” Mauro said.

When it comes to vaccination, the ECDOH says if there is a COVID positive case on a team

-All unvaccinated players, coaches and staff must pause for ten days, in which time vaccinated players can resume playing

-If two or more players or coaches test positive during a ten-day period, all team activities pause for ten days.

-If school goes to a virtual learning model, all team activities pause

“The coaches want to coach, the kids want to play, and I think everyone is in agreement that they’ll do what they have to do to make that happen,” Mauro said.