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Tuesday, May 18, 2021


Is there a Facemask penalty?

Apr 5, 2021

To the editor:
I'm left to wonder if a facemask penalty was called on two recent plays shown in the Democrat sports pages. Clearly, two Ellenville football players and a Roscoe player were not wearing the mandatory masks over their faces - a requirement for playing and practicing all high risk sports in New York State.
This is not a judgment on the rule, but an observation on its enforcement and ensuring that equity is maintained throughout all high school sports. I think it's safe to say that players without masks would find it easier to breathe, run and perform than those wearing masks.
If one team has players wearing masks and another does not, advantage to the team with maskless players. Also, I'm sure volleyball and soccer players would like to play without masks, but cannot hide under a helmet.
It's not clear what the penalty or consequence is, if any, for players not wearing a mask. Just another layer of confusion New York State and Section IX have created by allowing full-time athletics but not full-time academics.
As one parent said recently at a Sullivan West Board meeting, “how is that from 7:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., my kid has to social distance in the school as a student, but after 1:30 p.m. when he becomes an athlete and goes to play his sport in the same building, he doesn't? What kind of message is that?”
The same contorted message that Section IX is sending by not allowing spectators to indoor events such as volleyball even though New York State has approved it.
I realize managing schools and school athletics in the COVID era has been extraordinarily challenging and ever-changing. But all we are asking for as parents and residents is consistency and common sense.

Ken Cohen

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