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14

May, 2021

The Masks Come Off

 
May 14, 2021
 
Dear Club and League Representatives:
 
We have good news to share!
 
Effective 9:00 AM tomorrow morning (May 15, 2021), the use of facial coverings by athletes, team officials, referees, spectators, etc. during outdoor activities is no longer required. In short, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has updated their Gatherings and Face Mask Order to better align with the latest guidance on facial coverings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
 
Under the updated MDHHS Gatherings and Face Mask Order, individuals (i.e., athletes, coaches, team officials, spectators, parents/guardians, etc.) are no longer required to wear facial coverings during outdoor activities regardless of their vaccination status. While facial coverings are not required outdoors, MDHHS strongly recommends that individuals who are not fully vaccinated remain masked during outdoor organized sports activities.
 
While indoors, fully vaccinated individuals (i.e., athletes, coaches, team officials, spectators, parents/guardians, etc.) are no longer required to wear facial coverings, but those who are not fully vaccinated, must continue to wear facial coverings. The updated MDHHS Gatherings and Face Mask Order expires May 31, 2021. However, a recent press release from Governor Whitmer indicates that the broad indoor mask mandate will expire after July 1, 2021.
 
Again, starting tomorrow at 9:00 AM, the use of facial coverings by athletes, team officials, referees, spectators, parents/guardians, etc., during outdoorMSYSA affiliated activities are now personal decisions. MSYSA strongly urges our members to be mindful, and respectful, of those who may have the desire to continue their use of facial coverings.
 
Weekly testing (SARS-CoV-2) of all unvaccinated athletes (ages 13-19) is still required for participation in organized sports, including youth (club) soccer. Unvaccinated participants (ages 13-19) can only participate in organized sports with proof of a negative diagnostic test (antigen or RT-PCR) on at least a weekly basis. Fully vaccinated persons are not subject to the weekly testing requirements set forth in section 5(d) of the Emergency Order, unless they have COVID-19-like symptoms. ‘Fully vaccinated persons’ means persons for whom at least two weeks has passed after receiving the final dose of an FDA-approved or authorized COVID-19 vaccine. Participants who have recovered from confirmed COVID-19 in the past three months (and who remain symptom-free) are also not subject to these weekly testing requirements, if they can provide the appropriate ‘proof’ or doctor’s letter as described in the MDHHS Interim Guidance for Athletics.
 
As a reminder, there are now six (6) ways to coordinate weekly testing of unvaccinated athletes (ages 13-19). They include enrolling in the MI Safer Sports Testing Program, directing your athletes (ages 13-19) to local testing sites, working with local schools to get participants tested as students, independently contracting with a testing vendor/lab to administer the testing, procuring your own rapid antigen testing supplies, or purchasing and using ‘Ellume’ or ‘BinaxNow’ at-home COVID-19 tests according to manufacturer guidelines. At this time, ‘Ellume’ and ‘BinaxNow’ are the only two types of at-home tests that MDHHS has approved and may be used to fulfill the MDHHS weekly testing requirement.
 
In closing, MSYSA wishes to especially thank you, your players, your coaches and all soccer families across the state for doing what is (and was) required to keep people safe. As you head to outdoor games and/or tournaments this weekend, please take a moment to smile, laugh and celebrate the return to some ‘normalcy.’
 
Sincerely,
 
Thomas Faro
Executive Director
 
cc.:      MSYSA Board of Directors

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