Boonville Athletic Department purchases 550 face coverings

Chris Bowie
Boonville tennis player Emily Baker displays a face covering purchased by the Boonville Athletic Department for all athletes in the Boonville R-ISchool District. Boonville Athletic Director Chris Shikles said a total of 550 face coverings were purchased for the athletes at Boonville High School and Laura Speed Elliott Middle School.

To wear or not to wear? That is the question facing many of the student athletes this fall in the Boonville R-I School District.

Although the face coverings are mandatory by the MSHSAA when student athletes can’t socially distance, Boonville senior Lane West said he feels the masks are easy to slip on and off and are a positive way to prevent COVID-19.

“I think they are a good buy for the team. At first I didn’t like it and felt stupid putting them on, but the more Ihad them on the more comfortable I became. We all understand that just slipping them on when you are next to people or coming into practice could be a factor in whether we have a season or not.”

Boonville Athletic Director Chris Shikles said a total of 550 face coverings were purchased by the athletic department for every athlete, cheerleader and dance team member in the district. That includes athletes at Laura Speed Elliott.

Shikles said the Boonville Band Boosters purchased their own face coverings.

“We purchased the face coverings because of the MSHSAA guidelines,”Shikles said. “We are doing everything we can to get our fall season going. I also think it calms some nerves knowing that we have face coverings available if you need it. Again, anything we can do to have a fall season I’m all for it.”

According to MSHSAA guidelines, all masks or face coverings are required for participants, coaches/directors and officials/adjudicators any time they are not doing strenous physical activity. It goes on to say that wearing masks before activities and immediately following activities are required, especially prior to screening.

Boonville Lady Pirates softball coach Christie Zoeller said it took her a little while to get used to the masks.

“It did take a little time to get used to but by the end of the first day, I think everyone seemed comfortable in them,”Zoeller said. “The gator style masks are definitely more manageable than the kind that hook on your ears. We’ve actually had a few girls find multiple uses for them and have pulled them up like head bands when aerobic activities are taking place and the face covering isn’t required. The girls have all complied with the requirements without any hesitation.”

Zoeller said the No. 1 goal is to do all that they can now to ensure they have a long and enjoyable season.

Of course Shikles said its really nothing new wearing a mask.

“It’s really become part of the norm,” Shikles said of wearning a masks. “I think the kids were probably hesitant at first, but I think like anything else, they have gotten used to wearing them over time.”

The following are guidelines and recommendations for opening sports/activities:

*There should be no shared athletic towels, clothing or shoes between participants.

*Participants should wear their own appropriate workout clothing (do not share clothing), and individual clothing/towels should be washed and cleaned after every workout.

*Refrain from sharing practice/scrimmage jerseys or scrimmage hats/caps.

*Hand sanitizer should be plentiful at all contests and practices/rehersals.

*Athletic equipment such as bats, batting helmets and catchers gear should be cleaned between each practice or game. Other equipment, such as football helmets/other pads, lacrosse helmets/pads/gloves/eyewear, field hockey helmets/pads, gloves, eyewear, should be worn by only one individual and not shared.

*Maximum lifts should be limited and power cages should be used for squats and bench presses. Spotters should stand at each end of the bar with the use of a mask.

Social distancing at events:

*Schools are encouraged to offer live streamking of games/contests/performances to reduce attendance at events to that current gathering size and social distancing can be met.

*Sidelines, benches/performance and participant areas: Social distancing guidelines established by local and/or state health departments will need to be maintained on sidelines/benches/performance and participant areas during contests and events. Consider using tape or paint as a guide for participants and coaches/directors.

*Who should be allowed at events? Group people into tiers from essential to non-essential and decide which tiers will be allowed at an event if local and or state health department guidelines restrict group sizes. Only Tier 1 and Tier 2 personnel will be allowed to attend events until state/local health departments lift restrictions on mass gatherings.

*Tier 1-(Essential) Participants, coaches/directors, officials, event staff, medical staff, security.

*Tier 2-Preferred) Media.

*Tier 3-(Non-essential) Spectators, vendors.