JoCo Parks and Rec requires winter sports athletes to wear masks during play, differing from state

The Johnson County Park and Recreation District and the KSHSAA board last week released updated guidelines for winter sports participants. One major difference is that JCPRD requires masks at all times, including while athletes are in active play, while KSHSAA does not require masks during games. Photo credit Chip Griffin. Used under a Creative Commons license.

Last week the Johnson County Park and Recreation District and the Kansas State High School Activities Association, or KSHSAA, published updated guidance for the 2020 winter season, including mask requirements and limits on spectators.

Both sets of guidelines allow for indoor sports, like basketball, something that the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment recommended schools cancel amid increased COVID-19 cases.

JCPRD restrictions

The Johnson County Park and Recreation District released updated guidelines on Nov. 23 that require anyone either attending or participating in JCPRD sports events (indoors and outdoors) to wear a mask at all times. That means, anyone playing a JCPRD-sponsored athletic activity will have to wear a mask during competition.

“These regulations have been implemented so that we are able to maximize court usage for games and team practices through the fall and winter,” the JCPRD release said. “Please ensure your team is fully aware of these requirements so that we can continue providing activities and keep our facilities open.”

One spectator per player may attend games, though fans are not allowed at practices. Anyone waiting for COVID-19 test results or showing signs or symptoms of the disease is not allowed to attend competitions.

JCPRD’s regulations, which can be viewed here, also caution players against high-fives, fist-bumps and handshakes. They also require that team members maintain six feet of social distance during team meetings and while on the bench.

Participants are also required to clean hands between rounds of play.

KSHSAA restrictions

The KSHSAA board, which is comprised of league representatives throughout the state of Kansas, also last week issued new guidance for winter sports. The biggest adjustment will be that no spectators will be allowed for high school and middle school events throughout the state from Dec. 1 through Jan. 28.

The board also voted to begin the winter activity competition season on time on Tuesday, Dec. 1, and continue through Dec. 22. Then, winter sports will halt for winter break from Dec. 23 through Jan. 3. Teams can then resume practice Jan. 4 and competitions will recommence on Jan. 8.

Among other changes, the board determined that participants and spectators (once they are allowed to watch) are required to wear facial coverings, except for athletes while they are competing, and officials during active play.

Other restrictions noted:

  • Basketball may have a maximum of 20 games
  • Swimming and diving may have up to 10 competitions
  • Boys and Girls wrestling may have a maximum of 18 events
  • Bowling may have a maximum of 10 competitions

All of the above event requirements exclude postseason events. You can view the full statement on the KSHSAA decision here.