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Clarifying confusion surrounding Genesee County mask mandate, school athletics

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 4:37 PM EDT
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GENESEE COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - Clarifying confusion. The Genesee County Health Department recently updated its K-12 mask mandate.

In the mandate, there is language that says masks are required to be worn indoors at all times, that includes school athletics.

At the same time, it says the order does not apply to those who are outside, who are not engaged in activities involving direct physical contact.

Knowing that sports like football and soccer are close contact sports, there needed to be some clarification from the health department.

Dr. Pamela Hackert, the county health department’s health officer said that with outdoor contact sports, masks are not required to be worn.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean coaches aren’t worried about what potentially could happen down the road.

”We’ve been decently lucky up to this point. It’s just something that’s really on your mind, and you don’t know from one day to the next,” said Davison football coach Jake Weingartz.

Weingartz said that when it comes to his players on the field -- the masks are off.

That is not the case for indoor sports under the Genesee County Health Department mask mandate.

Weingartz said that he’s concerned new guidance or mandates could change everything -- which is why he’s got to take it a day at a time with his team.

But the way it is right now between the Michigan High School Athletic Association and the Genesee County Mask mandate -- masks are not required.

Frequent testing for COVID-19 is also not required unlike last season, and there are no state mandates in place.

Weingartz said that while players don’t have to wear a mask on the field -- they do have to wear one on the bus, in school and in the locker room. He said that everyone’s been cooperative with the policies that are in place.

“It’s obviously something we try not to think about -- but just address it if it comes there, but being safe, making sure you’re trying to be 3 feet a part in class -- that’s not always feasible. But trying to communicate with them every day -- to be smart, wear your mask in school and be socially distanced,” he said.

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