MINT HILL, NC – The NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker has instituted a mask mandate as Volleyball and Cross Country begin competition in the state.
This guidance has been put into place to protect the student-athletes, coaches, and staff from infection and to help stop the potential spread of COVID-19 in high school programs throughout the state.
This action has been taken by the Commissioner due to the fact after two weeks of practice, several volleyball teams across the state are in quarantine and will not start their competitive seasons on time due to the pandemic. Therefore, this is an effort to limit exposure and any further spread of the virus.
With nearly 400 volleyball and cross country teams actively participating across the state, the NCHSAA has the responsibility to do all possible to keep the numbers of those contracting the virus at a minimum. The mask mandate for all indoor activity – including skill development – appears to be the most effective way the NCHSAA currently has available to mitigate the risk factor of spreading the infection while allowing participants to continue without interruption.
“We are asking our coaches, student-athletes, and administrators for their continued vigilance and cooperation in these measures, including making sure to properly social distance during skill development sessions and adherence to the mask mandate,”said Que Tucker, NCHSAA Commissioner. “We all must do our part. It is our hope that by taking these steps now to get COVID-19 under control in all our athletic programs that we give ourselves a chance to offer competitive opportunities to all other sports at their designated times for the school year.”
It’s important to note that skill development sessions are not practiced and all guidance relative to social distancing must be followed. Skill development for basketball, the first major sport to begin competition in early January, includes shooting drills, free throws, wind sprints, and other conditioning drills. It does not include scrimmages or any contact with athletes.
The Commissioner further stated, “All of us have been waiting for this day for eight long months, and we are looking to the start of competition in volleyball and cross country today. We are excited to once again be able to provide competitive learning opportunities for student-athletes under the NCHSAA umbrella in North Carolina.”
Additionally, the NCHSAA is following recommendations made by the Governor’s health advisers at DHHS, Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC), and NCHSAA Board of Directors. Also, there will currently be a limit of 25 spectators allowed during indoor contests and 100 spectators for outdoor games, not including media, which is limited to one writer and one photographer per event. All school reporters who follow local teams will receive priority for upcoming events. The media must notify the high schools’ Athletic Directors in advance of their coverage.
Finally, currently, there is no plan to change the original schedule dates outlined by the NCHSAA to start a competition for each sport to begin the competition. Basketball remains the big focal point because it’s the first major sport to begin competition in 2021.