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PIAA Corona Update

Written by: on Thursday, July 2nd, 2020. Follow David Mika on Twitter.

A Message from Dr. Bob Lombardi, PIAA Executive Director:

If you thought the policy for sports to restart was confusing while trying to come up with a district plan, sit back. We can spin ya one more time. Yesterday the policy on mask wearing in Pennsylvania was adjusted by the governors office and they stated “you must wear a mask when you leave the house.” This of course became a hot topic as many teams had their return plans approved and have begun working out. With this new wrinkle, PIAA Executive Director Dr. Robert Lombardi is trying his best to decipher this new edict, but says “I am tremendously frustrated with the lack of clarification [coming from the Governors office] of what we can offer our schools to do.”

Yesterday, Dr. Levine, issued an order on behalf of the DOH and Governor regarding the use of face masks. We have fielded several calls on how this may impact your developed Health and Safety Plans for voluntary workouts over the summer months. If your plan addresses the items listed in the guidance (below) there would be no change in the implementation of the plan. Take the time to review your plan and how it complies with the new guidance.
If you’re unsure, safe harbor would be to request all involved in the activity to wear a mask. That’s the best information we have been presented at this time. We have been informed that PDE may be issuing updated information at some time today or tomorrow. Our apologies, for not having more definitive information. If we receive more current information, we will provide it to you.
The Secretary of Health’s order includes that masks must be worn when:
  • Outdoors and unable to consistently maintain a distance of six feet from individuals who are not members of their household;
  • In any indoor location where members of the public are generally permitted;
  • Waiting for, riding on, driving, or operating public transportation or paratransit or while in a taxi, private car service or ride-sharing vehicle;
  • Obtaining services from the healthcare sector in settings including, but not limited to, a hospital, pharmacy, medical clinic, laboratory, physician or dental office, veterinary clinic, or blood bank; or
  • Engaged in work, whether at the workplace or performing work off-site, when interacting in-person with any member of the public, working in any space visited by members of the public, working in any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others, working in or walking through common areas, or in any room or enclosed area where other people, except for members of the person’s own household or residence, are present when unable to physically distance.

PSFCA Executive Director Garry Cathell spoke with Lombardi for clearance: “Yes, you should be using the plan your district provided and approved. Those plans address the situations that were put out by the PDE regarding returning to sports.”

A department spokesperson said the expanded mask-wearing order “is not going to be enforced by law enforcement and that no one will face civil or criminal penalties if they do not abide by it”. Instead, Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration is leaning on the “good sense and cooperative spirit of Pennsylvanians” to follow the order on their own to keep things opened up.

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