Rhode Island Interscholastic League officials huddled up with the state’s high school athletic directors for a COVID-related briefing Monday morning with one of the major points of emphasis involving the importance of proper mask wearing during game competition.

In other words, make sure the mask doesn’t slide down where both one's nose and mouth are exposed. The league also made it clear that mask compliance must be the primary responsibility of head coaches in all programs.

“We all know that when coaches put a priority on something, it trickles down to the kids and they put a priority on it,” RIIL Assistant Executive Director Tom Marcello said Monday. “If the coaches don’t and are cavalier about it, it’s never going to be a priority for the kids.”

This reinforcement comes at a time when COVID numbers are on the rise and multiple sports are taking timeouts for virus-related reasons. The league has received numerous complaints about student-athletes being lax in wearing the mask.

Marcello stressed that it’s not the responsibility of the officials to make sure the student-athletes are complying with the mask edict.

“It’s up to the schools and coaches to safely administer their athletic programs. That’s with injuries, strength and conditioning, and because of the time we’re in, it’s also about mask wearing,” Marcello said.

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