The Minnesota Department of Health released updated guidelines today regarding winter sports returning to practice on January 4. Basketball and hockey players will be required to wear masks when competing. In some cases athletes in certain sports like wrestling and swimming will be able to remove their masks for certain tasks. Obviously for sports like swimming masks would not be reasonable to wear during an actual swim or during a wrestling competition, but proper handwashing and social distancing will be highly encouraged and enforced.

As of right now practices will be limited to 25 athletes in one general area at a time and it is unsure if parents will be able to attend games or competitions at this point. Concessions will also not be allowed to be sold at games. Other changes may be coming as well, but this is the guidelines for right now.

Being someone who competed in sports my entire childhood and 3 sports per year in High School being a student athlete requires a lot of discipline and hard work. Wearing a mask while doing sports will make things more difficult, but is essential in keeping athletes safe and allowing competitions to continue.

According to guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics

Compliance by athletes, parents, spectators, coaches, and officials will affect the success of the reduction strategies. Key modifications that are recommended include prioritizing noncontact activity, such as conditioning and drills where physical distance can be maintained, and proper use of a cloth face covering

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The winter sports schedule was delayed by the Minnesota High School League to avoid overlap of athletes sharing the same facility, but hopefully with these new guidelines in place the winter season sports can go on with out a hitch and spring sports will be able to start at their normal time.

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