TORRINGTON – Goshen County sports fans have grown accustomed to wearing face coverings at events over the fall months per local health guidelines. Now, every school in the state will be required to enforce face coverings at all winter activities.
On Monday, the Wyoming High School Activities Association released a statement saying they had updated the WHSAA Smart Start Sports and Activities Guidelines, approving a face covering mandate for all winter sports and activities.
“We are definitely at a different place with the virus than we were when we started the fall activities,” WHSAA Commissioner Ron Laird said in the release.
The largest change to the smart start guidelines has been updated to read: “Face coverings must always be worn while in the building. Face coverings must be worn regardless of social distancing and/or sitting with immediate family members.”
Additionally, student-athletes will also be required to wear unless they are competing.
“We have been directed by the WHSAA Board to take appropriate sanctions against any school that is not following the mask mandate for either spectators or their teams,” Laird said. “We are confident everyone will follow the mandate.”
Torrington High School Athletic Director Dave Plendl wanted to voice his praise to Blazers coaches, students and fans for their efforts to make the highly stressful fall season possible.
“I sincerely want to thank, first, the students and coaches, for following everything, even all summer,” he said. “All five sports were pretty darn successful this fall. Our coaches showed very good leadership of that and modeling. If you watch our football coaches, they had those gators up almost the whole game.
“Second, the parents for their support. All-in-all, we had good support of that,” he added. “I know it’s not a popular thing to do but thank you.”
Turning towards the winter sports season, he added it’s imperative to continue the good practices.
“As we enter the winter season, it really has to be 100% cooperation at every single event. “If you don’t want to do that, please watch it on TV,” Plendl said. “I’ve told almost everybody, this is a season of can’t, no, no, better not this year. That gets old telling people that.”
Torrington had more than 3,000 views of the semifinal football game against Mountain View on the NFHS Network.
As practice for the winter sports season begins on Monday and games begin the second week in December, Laird stressed consistent enforcement across the state.
“Our sports and activities are about the students, not the adults,” Laird said.