ASHEVILLE, North Carolina (WLOS) — Starting at 5 p.m. Friday, outdoor student athletes and officials won’t have to wear masks during their games. They can go without masks as long as they’re actively participating.
“I think it’s amazing,” said Ricardo Nunez, a varsity baseball player at Erwin High School.
After playing countless games in masks, outdoor student athletes like Nunez are rejoicing that won’t be the case anymore.
“It really gives them a sense of getting back to normal,” said David Ball, district athletic specialist for Buncombe County Schools.
Ball said he’s not too concerned about the change, adding the kids have gotten used to the other COVID-19 protocols that will still be in place.
“They pretty much maintain social distancing in our locker rooms as they’re dressing,” Ball said. “On the buses, we have seating charts, maintaining as much social distance as possible on the buses.”
Nunez said it’s going to be great to play without a mask.
“I’m actually ready to be able to breathe on the field,” he said.
Nunez said it will help with the overall game.
“You hide your emotions when you have the mask on, and it’s really hard for us to see each other and see how we’re doing,” he said.
Ball said wrestling is the only indoor sport happening right now.
He said wrestlers will be able to take off their masks only during their matches.
Ball said they will continue to see how things go to determine how summer workouts will go.
A spokesperson for Buncombe County Schools said the change does not apply to other school activities like recess. The spokesperson said those guidelines have not been changed in the state’s tool kit for schools.
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