Steuben County soccer team withdraws from sectionals after opponent refuses to wear masks

High School Sports

(Photo credit should read GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images)

AVOCA, N.Y. (WROC) — A high school varsity soccer team in Steuben County is withdrawing from Sectionals because the team they are scheduled to play is refusing to wear masks.

Officials from the Avoca Central School District issued a statement about the withdrawal on Twitter Wednesday afternoon.

“We have recently learned that the team from Scio Central School that our Boys Varsity Soccer team is scheduled to compete against in a sectional game on Friday is refusing to wear face coverings,” the statement said. “We have tried to negotiate with the Superintendent from that school to have the players at least start the game wearing face coverings, as is required per guidance from the NYS Public High School Athletic Association and the NYS Department of Health, but to no avail. They have not and will not require their athletes to wear masks. We cannot put our student athletes at risk by allowing them to play an unmasked opponent. Therefore, after much consideration, it has been decided that we must withdraw our Boys Varsity Soccer team from sectional play.”

According to the NYSPHSAA Return to Interscholastic Athletics guidelines:

“Responsible parties must ensure a distance of at least six feet is maintained among individuals at all times, whether indoor or outdoor, unless safety or the core activity (e.g. practicing, playing) requires a shorter distance. If a shorter distance is required, individuals must wear acceptable face coverings, unless players are unable to tolerate a face covering for the physical activity (e.g. practicing, playing); provided, however, that coaches, trainers, and other individuals who are not directly engaged in physical activity are required to wear a face covering. Acceptable face coverings for COVID-19 include but are not limited to cloth-based face coverings and disposable masks that cover both the mouth and nose.

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

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