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ABR Mask Policy Update

UpdatedFriday May 14, 2021 byBeth Jones.

May 14, 2021

Dear ABR Families:

As you are all aware, over the past two weeks, and yesterday in particular, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) functionally eliminated mask requirements for vaccinated individuals in outdoor settings and all but a handful of specific indoor settings. Based on the CDC’s guidance—in accordance with the science—ABR is modifying our mask policy. Beginning today:

  • Vaccinated spectators at games and practices are not expected to wear masks;
  • Vaccinated coaches and umpires are not expected to wear masks on the diamond, but should continue to mask up in the dugout/bench/bleacher area and in any situation in which they are addressing a player or players within approximately 3 to 6 feet (for example, base coaches should pull up a mask if they intend to lean in and address a player); and
  • There are no changes to the mask policy for players—they are expected to wear masks in the dugout/bench/bleacher area.

As you surely recognize, the expectations for coaches and umpires are more stringent than the CDC’s recommendation. There are two reasons. First, our players are not vaccinated and therefore need to wear masks off the diamond. Despite the minimal risk that a vaccinated coach or umpire could transmit the virus to a player, we need to model good personal and public health behavior to the players, who are children. One way to accomplish this, while still respecting the science and CDC guidance, is to mask up in the same circumstances required of players—in the dugout/bench/bleacher area and when interacting in proximity. Second, regardless of anyone’s personal views on the handling of the pandemic, most of us can agree that communication about the risks of COVID-19 and how to mitigate its spread has not always been the model of clarity or consistency over the past 14 months. In recognition of that, and out of respect for the likelihood that there are differing views about how to implement a draw down in preventative measures, we have opted to ease restrictions for coaches and umpires, rather than abruptly eliminate them.

While mask wearing is no longer uniformly mandated for vaccinated spectators, coaches, and umpires, we ask members of the ABR community to continue social distancing and practicing good personal hygiene, and to respect those who choose to continue wearing masks. We also ask that opponents in games continue to respect differing practices among teams regarding masking on the diamond and communicate and work together to make all players and families feel safe and welcome at ABR events. Moreover, players, coaches, umpires, and spectators—regardless of vaccination status—must remain at home if they are symptomatic. Please continue to use the ABR screening questionnaire, regardless of vaccination status, and remain at home if you are unable to certify your compliance.

While ABR is modifying our mask policy, we are not modifying our commitment to the health and well-being of our players and volunteers, or to the public health of Arlington and the greater community. Today’s modification is simply the next turn on the long road we have traveled together the past 14 months. We have been in this together from the start and it will remain that way. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

J.P. Cooney, ABR President