2021 - New Hampshire Track & Field Mask Mandate Saga
! Success !
As of 5/20/2021 the NHIAA has dropped their athlete mask recommendations !
It was done pretty quietly. They don't seem to have any announcement on their site, at least not that I can find. It sounds like they've told the Athletic Directors and now the schools are deciding for themselves - of course they always had that option anyway. I don't know if all schools will drop the mask mandates but I have heard that Pembroke Academy (my former school) will not be requiring masks during the last meet of the season this weekend.
You can read more about the details here, along with some other news and my comments.
So we'll mark it up as a win. The kids will not have to wear masks in the last meet and in the state championships.
Thank you all for your support and for all of the phone calls, emails, texts, and speaking up at the school board meetings.
My Primary Goal (Was)
Get rid of any and all requirements that athletes wear masks while exerting themselves during outdoor practices and competitions so the athletes can run and play freely.
Brief Mask Mandate Overview
I was the Head Track & Field Coach at Pembroke Academy in Pembroke, NH (a public school). The NHIAA, the governing body of NH High School Athletics, came out with recommendations that all track and field athletes wear masks DURING races at meets - from the 100m up to the 2 mile.
My school, and as far as I know every other school in the state (please email me if there are exceptions), accepted the recommendations and made them requirements.
When I heard about this I was floored. I emailed the Athletic Director at the school and asked for confirmation. I was told - yes masks would be required for all races in all meets.
I knew right away I would not do this to my athletes. I considered quitting but slept on it. By morning I had decided not to quit but to refuse to follow the mandate.
I wrote and sent Fire Me If You Must - and copied school admins, school board, coaches, parents, media, politicians about my refusal - hoping my refusal would get some traction and maybe lead to some change. I was fired. I had assumed I would be. The media picked it up - it's gone from local, to regional, and now national.
More people are starting to speak out - will it be enough to get the mandate removed ? I have no idea. But I would not keep quiet.
To all of those who've sent me emails, texts, phone messages of thanks and encouragement, thank you. It's great to know I'm not alone. And 'thank you' to those that have and those that are starting to push back against these senseless and damaging rules.
What I have since found out is not only will masks be required at the meets, masks will be "required" to be worn DURING ALL WORKOUTS on the track during training - but with a wink and nod athletes are told they can pull them down around their chins !
Timeline - Mask Mandate, My Firing, and the Fight to Get Rid of the Mask Mandate
Take Action ! - What You Can Do To Stop These Ridiculous Mandates
Today's Practice - Fri, Feb 11th 2022
General Drills, Circuits, Routines
Event Specific Drills, Circuits, Workouts, Videos