Parents, Students, Coaches Want More Clarity On Masks And Youth Sports

The battle over youth sports and COVID-19 protocols continues, reports Caroline Cummings (2:04). WCCO 4 News At 5 - April 26, 2021

Video Transcript

- The battle over youth sports and COVID-19 protocols continues. Some parents, students, and coaches say the health department has not given them clear guidance on requirements or the proof to back it up. However, as Caroline Cummings reports, health officials warn of skyrocketing cases among young people as the variant spreads in Minnesota.

- Masking anyone outdoors is absolutely asinine.

CAROLINE CUMMINGS: Minnesota Health officials recently updated their guidance on youth sports. Masks are no longer required while practicing or competing outside. But some parents, student athletes, and coaches say inconsistency looms over the protocols. And they want some flexibility.

CARSON DEICHMAN: Meanwhile, on March 14th, three days before the Minnesota State High School swim meet, the date I was not allowed to swim on quarantine day 11, Governor Walz had decided to quarantine because of an exposure, just like mine. But the governor chose to quarantine for only 10 days. He had applied the same rules to me as he applied to himself, I could have swam in the state meet.

CAROLINE CUMMINGS: These comments came during a Senate committee hearing on Monday, where commissioner Dan Malcolm also testified, saying cases among students in schools are on the rise. She says that's due to the spread of the more infectious B117 variant. This chart she shared tracks the weekly cases.

You can see cases among students or near the fall, 2020 peak levels, while staff cases are steady, reflecting the impact of vaccinations. But what Minnesotans pushing back want is a direct link to COVID being spread during sporting events. Malcolm said there have been some investigations linking spread to sports and games. But not every case can be analyzed with such depth.

JAN MALCOLM: The core premise here and the CDC guidance is based upon just the fact that sports activities fit the profile of what is heightened risk for transmission, just given what we know about this virus.

CAROLINE CUMMINGS: Caroline Cummings, WCCO 4 News.

- As far as the overall population, the CDC is expected to announce new guidance tomorrow for wearing a mask outdoors.