With many schools back to in-person instruction, there is still a lot of uncertainty about what the future holds for school athletics, due to the pandemic. For the schools that have reopened and resumed high school sports, how can we ensure that our children are safe with low risk of contracting the coronavirus?
Face masks are essential as it is the “new norm” and are required during in-person schooling and high school athletics training and games. Exercising while wearing a face mask is possible, and here are three tips to make sure face masks are properly integrated into high school practices, training, and games.
Having the proper face mask material and fit can significantly minimize discomfort during high school team practices. Avoid paper, and surgical masks because vigorous breathing can cause them to become wet and lose the germ-blocking ability. Cotton masks are also not recommended as they are thick and retain moisture which can reduce breathing ability and increase discomfort.
The ideal choice is cloth masks made from breathable, synthetic materials which are lightweight and wick away moisture. Choose masks that are two layers of fabric or less to improve breathing capability and reduce facial overheating. Additionally, look for masks that do not have straps around your ears, but rather around your head to ensure your mask stays in place while in use. If you are looking for options for a great mask to use while exercising, check out the Zensah Performance Face Mask.
Be sure to also bring extra masks with you to your practices! For proper functioning and sanitation, face masks should be changed every 30 minutes.
Every state and local school district may have variations in their face mask policies. However, as a general rule of thumb, athletes, coaches, and spectators should wear face coverings unless they are outdoors and can consistently maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet apart. During games, high school athletes and coaches should wear a mask when on the sidelines, in the dugout, etc. During practices and training, face masks may not be possible to wear during certain drills with high exertion, like running sprints, however, it may be possible to wear face masks during weight training where breathing is more controlled.
High school sports are a great way to bring the community together. Why not make face masks a fashion statement? Face masks can be made with school colors with a custom design of the high school’s logo or mascot. Incorporating face masks into the team uniform is a great way to encourage athletes to wear their face masks. Selling these custom high school designed face masks could be a great idea to fundraise for your team. This would allow high school sports’ fans and spectators to purchase and also wear these custom face masks to rep the school’s colors and show their school spirit.
Transitioning to a new way of life for schools and sports may seem daunting, but the good news is that it is very much possible! Just by wearing a face mask during team practices, training, and games, we can continue to “flatten the curve.” Normal high school activities and sports can resume without a high risk of COVID-19 transmission.
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