ROCHESTER, Minn. - With spring sports now in full swing, the Minnesota State High School League is seeking relief from face masks for spring sport athletes from Minnesota health officials. So far, no changes to the mask mandate have been made. However, if the proposal is accepted, athletes will still be required to wear face coverings anytime they are not competing.
“I would wear a full-body suit if that’s what we had to do. If you need me to wear a hazmat suit to coach third base, that’s what I would do,” said Lourdes baseball coach, Dave Jenson.
Like many teams across the state this season, the Eagles are willing to do whatever it takes if it makes the difference between having a season and not having one.
“We’ve been waiting for this opportunity forever and to wear something over our mouth and nose is nothing,” Jack Jakub said.
Fellow teammate, Nolan Jurgenson, says it has been a breeze growing accustomed to all of the safety precautions in place this season.
“(It’s) not that bad. Just trying to keep wearing them during practice so that we can get used to them. As long as we get to keep playing, I’m glad to be wearing them,” he said.
“At this point, all of the students are used to it,” Jenson added. “They’ve been wearing it (masks) at school. It’s a little different wearing them outside. I know I have to elevate my volume level to make sure that people can hear me.”
During Thursday’s Board of Directors meeting, the Minnesota State High School League asked state officials for relief from the mask mandate for spring sport athletes. Regardless of the outcome, Jenson is understanding.
“There are times in baseball when you look at home plate – you’ve got a batter, a catcher and an umpire within six feet. I think that makes sense. If you’re looking at a centerfielder with no one within a hundred some feet – doesn’t make as much sense.”
Either way, the athletes will adapt to whatever changes are thrown their way.
“It doesn’t really matter. We’ll go out there and play our game. Whatever challenges we face, we’ll endure as a team,” Jakub said.
“I guess it’s kind of just up to them and what they think is the best decision for everyone, bt, as long as we can keep playing, that’s all I want,” Jurgenson added.
State Health Commissioner, Jan Malcolm, says while the risk for COVID-19 is lower outdoors, it is “still not zero.”