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Letter: High school athletes, please observe the mask mandate

On Saturday, Dec. 18, I attended a JV girls high school basketball game to watch my daughter play for Rock Falls. The game was against Naperville Central.

Most of the Naperville Central players wore their masks completely under their chins and did not attempt to wear them properly over their mouth or nose, nor did any coach or official correct the situation.

After expressing my concerns, an official told me he could not enforce the masks with players or coaches. I explained that I had been in contact with IHSA, where I learned that coaches are responsible for enforcing the mask mandate with their players. I was just asking for someone to talk to the coaches to remind their athletes to pull up their masks. Just looping a mask around one’s ears is not in compliance.

After the game, the Sterling High School athletic director told me that officials were supposed to enforce the rule. I tried to ask him to speak to the coaches. I tried to express my concerns that players were putting themselves and other players at risk of spreading COVID on the court by not wearing their masks properly; however, the athletic director would not listen and told me to leave the building and that I was causing trouble. I tried to explain that I was not causing trouble. I have concerns about the health and safety of the athletes and the enforcement of the mask mandate at indoor athletic events.

I spoke to an executive director of the IHSA office before and after this event and they said that I had the right as a parent to voice my concerns. This office affirmed that I had done nothing to deserve being told to leave the building.

Since this event, I have received an apology from the SHS principal. It is and was not my intent to cause a disturbance, but rather make people aware that the mask mandate is not being enforced as well as it should be. Many schools, athletic departments, and coaches are ignoring or are too lenient with the mask directives set forth from the IDPH, Gov. JB Pritzker, and IHSA. Hence, more athletes are spreading or getting COVID and quarantines are rising.

Regardless of vaccination status, all athletes are required to wear their masks properly during competitions. Schools, athletic departments, coaches, athletes, parents and spectators, please support the mask mandate to keep everyone safe.

Brenda Fiorini, Rock Falls

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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