EASTHAM — The Covid-19 pandemic continues to put up hurdles for student athletic teams.
The Nauset High School boys basketball team had to suspend activities last week, said Athletic Director John Mattson. The team canceled practices and postponed its first three games of the season.
Mattson didn’t disclose the reasons, but presumably there was at least one Covid case on the team. The Warriors were cleared to participate in outdoor conditioning on Wednesday and the team planned to hold indoor practice on Monday, Dec. 20, Mattson said in an email. The team hopes to open its season on Dec. 23 against Cape Cod Academy.
Games scheduled for Dec. 10 and Dec. 14 have been rescheduled for later this season, while the team’s Dec. 21 game against Martha’s Vineyard has not yet been rescheduled.
No other Nauset teams have experienced Covid-related postponements so far.
The Mass. Interscholastic Athletic Association board of directors met on Dec. 8 and voted to extend its indoor mask mandate for winter sports. The mandate was first imposed on Nov. 23.
Because fall sports are played mostly outdoors, athletes, coaches, and spectators did not have to wear masks, and the play seemed back to normal. But winter sports take place mostly indoors, with close contact between the athletes.
Although the MIAA board affirmed its mask mandate last week, the association’s Sports Medicine Committee had recommended last month that athletes and officials be allowed to remove masks while playing. The medical committee also recommended that coaches be allowed to remove masks. In addition, the MIAA Basketball Committee voted overwhelmingly to support those recommendations.
The MIAA created specific Covid-19 guidelines for each sport last season.
In general, student athletes and coaches who have symptoms of infection are encouraged to be tested and isolate themselves in accordance with Mass. Dept. of Public Health (DPH) guidance. Students with symptoms who test negative for Covid-19 may return to play once they are approved to return to school — they must be free of fever for 24 hours with their symptoms improving.
Student athletes and coaches with a positive Covid diagnosis are required to follow Centers for Disease Control (CDC), DPH, and local board of health guidelines. In addition, infected persons must get written clearance from their health care providers and school administrators or designees to return to their sports.
Student athletes, coaches, spectators, and any others associated with the athletic program who have been exposed to Covid-19 must quarantine: no participation in practices or games following exposure. They should follow all CDC, DPH, and local board of health protocols. Athletes and coaches should receive written clearance from their school administrators or designees to return to action.
The MIAA follows the Mass. Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) guidelines when it comes to masking.
“As of October 15, 2021,” the DESE announced, “if a school demonstrates a vaccination rate of 80 percent or more of all students and staff in the school through an attestation form submitted to DESE, then vaccinated individuals in that school would no longer be subject to the mask requirement. Whether or not a school or district avails themselves of the 80 percent vaccination off ramp is a local decision to be made by school and district leaders in consultation with local health officials.”
DESE has set Jan. 15 for reassessing masking guidelines, according to the MIAA.
Nauset High School still requires students and teachers to be masked indoors during the school day. Student athletes, officials, coaches, staff, and spectators are required to be masked at all indoor sports events at the high school and at Charles Moore Arena in Orleans.
The girls basketball team lost its first game of the year, 58-26, to Plymouth North High School on Dec. 10. The team was scheduled to play Nantucket at home on Tuesday, followed by an away game against Norwell High School on Thursday.
The boys ice hockey team got off to a fast start with a 7-2 win over the co-op Monomoy and Mashpee Monarchs boys hockey team at Charles Moore Arena. Five different Warriors players scored in that game.
The hockey team was scheduled to travel to Martha’s Vineyard on Tuesday.
The Cape Cod Furies, a co-op girls ice hockey team from Nauset, Monomoy, and Cape Cod Tech, is also off to a good start, having handily won its first two games. The Furies defeated Martha’s Vinyeard 4-1 at home on Dec. 9 and Plymouth South 4-1 on Dec. 11. The team was scheduled to play Barnstable at the Hyannis Youth Community Center on Wednesday.
The Nauset girls and boys swim teams took first at the Cape & Islands Relay Carnival at Sandwich High School on Dec. 11 with a score of 175. Kaitlin Bohannon, Nina Mako, Brynn Morris, Will Crowell, Keith Gagnon, and John Szucs were all part of four winning relays that day.