The Oregon School Activities Association received clarification from state health officials Wednesday that says vaccinated student-athletes no longer need to wear masks – indoors or out – while participating in events.
The Oregon Health Authority announced the mask-wearing changes on Tuesday, but there was some confusion on what it meant for athletes playing indoor contact sports, such as basketball.
“For individuals who are fully vaccinated who are in an indoor setting and vaccine status can be reviewed and verified, they are allowed to play without a mask and without the physically distancing requirements,” State Epidemiologist Dr. Dean Sidelinger said. “Again, that would follow the guidance for fully vaccinated individuals that we released earlier (Tuesday) and follow the updated guidance for outdoor mask use that we updated (Tuesday.)”
The OSAA notified schools of the changes on Wednesday afternoon, with the following guidance.
- Outdoor Sports: Students, staff, volunteers, and spectators are not required to wear face coverings at outdoor sports events. Until additional updates are provided, all previous physical distancing and capacity restrictions still apply.
- Indoor Sports: Fully vaccinated students, staff, volunteers, and spectators are not required to wear face coverings at indoor sports events only when vaccination status is checked by the school in a manner described by OHA in guidance. Until additional updates are provided, all previous physical distancing and capacity restrictions still apply.
- These provisions are optional for the venue operators. School districts, charter schools, and private schools may still choose to require face coverings at these events.
Per the OHA, “fully vaccinated” means an individual has received both doses of a two-dose COVID-19 vaccine or one dose of a single-dose vaccine and at least 14 days have passed since the individual’s final dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
Also per the OHA, “proof of vaccination status” means documentation provided by a tribal, federal, state or local government, or a health care provider, that includes an individual’s name, date of birth, type of COVID-19 vaccination given, date or dates given, depending on whether it is a one-dose or two-dose vaccine, and the name/location of the health care provider or site where the vaccine was administered.
Documentation may include but is not limited to, COVID-19 vaccination record card, or a copy or digital picture of the vaccination record card, according to the OSAA.
The new guidance comes after two high-profile incidents in Central Oregon involving athletes wearing masks.
Last month a Summit High School runner collapsed at the finish line of an 800-meter race, prompting coaches to ask state health officials to change the mask-wearing rules for outdoor sports.
Changes came shortly thereafter, but student playing indoor sports were still required to mask up.