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Pembroke Academy Track & Field

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Pembroke, NH
(Unofficial Site)

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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.

Done :)

 

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

  • End of March 2021 - Initial release of NHIAA Guidelines (if the file disappears let me know I have a copy)
  • Friday      4/2/2021 - Confirmation of mask requirements during races by Athletic Director
  • Saturday 4/3/2021 - My refusal email: Fire Me If You Must (copied to coaches, parents, media, governor, etc)
  • Monday   4/5/2021 - Termination Email received from Athletic Director
  • Monday   4/5/2021 - My Farewell Message (copied to coaches, parents, media, governor, etc)
  • Tuesday   4/6/2021 (morning)   - Local Newspaper Coverage (front page, top of fold, both local papers)
  • Tuesday   4/6/2021 (afternoon) - Boston TV and Radio Coverage  (4 TV Interviews, 1 Radio, 1 Live Radio)
  • Tuesday    4/6/2021 - Change.org peition started (as of 5/15/2021 had almost 2500 signatures)
  • Thursday   4/8/2021 - Newsmax, Gerry Callahan (formerly from Boston Sports Radio)  (links are coming)
  • Friday         4/9/2021 - Fox News and Friends, The Alex Jones Show, The Tucker Carlson Show
  • Monday      4/12/2021 - I sent the NHIAA some questions
  • Monday      4/12/2021 - Change.org peition hit 1,000 signatures
  • Monday      4/12/2021 - Greg Steelman's Letter to the Editor in the Union Leader
  • Friday         4/16/2021 - Week 2 Media Coverage
  • Miscellaneous Other Coverage and Articles
  • Coverage from 4/22/2012 thru 5/5/2021
  • Friday        4/30/2021 - I sent an email to the NHIAA, the Pembroke Academy administration and school board, and some media contacts about a couple of masked athletes in other states who collapsed while racing.
  • Monday      5/3/2021 - I recieved a response to my Masked High School Athletes Collapse email from Dan Morris, Headmaster of Pembroke Academy.

    His response was essentially 'Well everyone else is doing it'. As usual there is no actual justification for the mask mandates.

    Here is my response to 'well everyone else is doing it'. 

  • Thursday  5/20/2021 - Last week the NHIAA dropped their mask recommendations and some (all?) schools are starting the drop their mandates. Masks will not be required at the State Championships !

 

Take Action ! - What You Can Do To Stop These Ridiculous Mandates
(Even though the recommendations and mandates are gone, I'm leaving this list up)

  • Sign up for my Mailng List - I'll send out an email every few days with any updates
  • CALL OR WRITE THE NHIAA AND DEMAND ANSWERS (NICELY) TO THE QUESTIONS
  • Sign the Change.org petition 'Repeal NHIAA mandatory mask mandate for student athletes' created by Raymond Miclette
  • Speak Up
    • Call, write, email your coaches, athletic directors, school administrators, NHIAA, representatives, media
    • Ask Questions and DEMAND answers (these are supposed to be public servants who are paid with your taxes)
    • Put together a petition of parents, students, taxpayers - but try to get it to the media (traditional or social). Just handing it in to the administration will likely have it end up in the curcular file.
    • Share the story - either link to this site or any one of the articles and interviews in the media
      • but sharing doesn't help unless people act also, please speak out
  • Vote the politicians who've been behind these mandates and allowed them out of office
  • Create Alternatives
    • That's where I'm heading. I'm working on creating a private track and field club - NHRockets.org - where all ages can train, learn, and compete.

About Me - Very Brief Bio 

 

 

 

 

Team Announcements

 
Future Status of This Site
(as of April 2021)
 
I'm not sure exactly what will happen with this site. I (Bradley Keyes) created and maintained it while I was coach. I am leaving it up for now because the history is valuable for the current coaches and the kids. 

 


There WILL BE a 2021 Spring Season !
 
It will not be a normal one though. Unfortunately there will be no large invitational weekend meets. There will be a state championship meet, and hopefully a Meet of Champions and the Decathlon/Heptathlon.
 
We'll have 5 regular tri-meets and there will be 6 mini-meets for a limited number of athletes who are in the running for placing at states.
 
 
Practices start Monday April 5th. We will be practicing Monday-Friday 2:45-5p. DO NOT BE LATE because they are requiring temperature checks before practices.
 

 
 

 

The 2020 Div II Indoor Championships was Pembroke's best indoor state meet ever !

Read about it here.

 


Indoor Meet Results - Click Here 

 

 

 

Today's Practice - Thu, May 20th 2021

This section is no longer up to date. Please talk to the current coaches for practice dates, times, and plans.

No practices are scheduled

 

 

 

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