Athletes in many Delaware outdoor sports will no longer be required to wear masks during practices and competitions, following an update of Delaware’s State of Emergency by Governor John Carney, but most DIAA athletes can’t take advantage, yet.

Effective April 1 at 12:30 p.m., athletes in outdoor sports deemed “low-risk” or “medium-risk” will be allowed to practice and compete without masks as long as they wear them when not actively participating in the activity.

Coaches, referees, spectators, and other staff will still be required to wear masks during games and practices.

Indoor sport athletes must continue to wear masks during competitions and practices, as well, even if they are not on the “high-risk” list.

“High-risk” sports, defined by the state include: ice hockey, basketball, tackle football, boys’/men’s lacrosse, wrestling, boxing, rugby, competitive cheer, martial arts, ultimate frisbee, and pairs figure skating, and will still require mask use due to their sustained and repeated close contact.

Sports in the medium risk category include: baseball, softball, field hockey, girls’/women’s lacrosse, soccer, flag or 7-on-7 football, team running, running clubs and track and field, team swimming, rowing (other than with household members), sailing, volleyball, dance class, fencing, and gymnastics. 

The defined “low-risk” sports are: singles tennis, golf, individual running and swimming, pickleball, disc golf, individual biking, surfing, horseback riding, individual sailing, fishing, hunting, motor sports, and singles rowing.

Despite the Governor’s order, most DIAA athletes will still have to continue to wear masks due to the regulation the Board of Directors passed regarding the pandemic.

While early in the regulations they said “Student athletes shall wear face coverings based on the Delaware Division of Public Health’s current guidance applicable to sports”, later on, they issued sport-specific guidance — which they had considered removing but left in — that would have to be removed.

All sports that were using masks will have to continue using them — all except golf — until the DIAA Board can remove that language.

The DIAA Board meets on Thursday, April 8. It’s unclear if they’ll be able to make an emergency change which would allow them to present changes to the Delaware Board of Education on April 22. If they have to go through the typical regulation time period in Delaware, there would have to be a 30-day public comment period, stretching any changes well into May, at the earliest.

Social distancing requirements of six-feet will remain in place in all sports.

These rules apply to Delaware’s youth and amateur sports.