(UNDATED) – Superintendents from seven St. Joseph County schools want to see student-athletes not have to wear a mask while participating in their sport.
A letter was sent to Governor Gretchen Whitmer on Friday, asking for Whitmer to remove the mask requirements for student-athletes while they are participating. It also asks for the Governor to reconsider aspects of two Executive Orders she issued.
Sending and signing the letter was Sturgis Superintendent Dr. Art Ebert; Constantine Superintendent James Wiseley; Centreville Superintendent Stephanie Lemmer; White Pigeon Superintendents Jon Keyer and Carrie Errlandson; Three Rivers superintendent Ron Moag and Mendon Superintendent Leasa Griffith.
On September 3, Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-176, requiring masks to be worn by high school athletes in all organized sports, except for swimming. The Governor offered clarification on the order six days later with Executive Order 2020-180. It says that face coverings must be worn at all times by athletes training for, practicing for or competing in an organized sport when a distance of six feet cannot be maintained. Order 180 also says student-athletes in girls golf, cross country and boys tennis do not have to wear a mask while they are playing. However football, boys soccer and volleyball must wear their masks.
The letter says that the Superintendents believe Whitmer took a positive step forward by loosening the restrictions for some of the student-athletes, but the restrictions should be removed for all of them.
They say they have a moral imperative to keep their students safe, and they are struggling to understand the Governor’s mandate for masks for student-athletes, because they believe it requires them to enforce mandates that aren't safe for students.
The specifically say they are concerned with the student-athletes' sweating and oxygen intake during play. They say that the Center for Disease Control states people should not wear masks while they are engaged in activities that may cause the mask to get wet, which will make it difficult for people to breathe.
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