WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Western Mass News is your Local Sports Authority.
We have some good news for student-athletes across the state, as the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association updates their mask guidance.
Many student-athletes got to take off their face-coverings while participating in their sport for the first time in a while, and it's all because the MIAA has come out with new mask guidelines, loosening restrictions.
"It's like freedom; it's so exciting, especially to see all of my friends without their masks on, and I’ve been comfortable this whole entire time, and seeing them so happy, especially my senior year," West Springfield track and field senior team captain Laura Armstrong said.
The season is on, and the masks are off as the MIAA announced new guidelines for student-athletes across the state.
Spring athletes participating in outdoor youth sports for both practices and games no longer have to wear masks.
This also goes for spring athletes sitting on the sidelines or the bench, waiting to get into the game.
As for coaches, officials, umpires, spectators, staff, and other officials no masks are needed either.
How about indoor sports? Athletes in low-risk sports, where they can maintain social distance do not have to wear masks.
The only ones who need to wear masks are volunteers, spectators, visitors, and staff who are inside.
West Springfield Athletic Director Glenn Doulette said this news is a relief to many.
"It goes back to the local districts to make the final decision. The West Springfield school committee, the superintendent, they support the new MIAA guidelines, we're going to be able to follow those, we support it, it's already been approved, we had clearance today through the superintendent, the mayor, it's a good day," Doulette said.
But what if the area you live in approves of the new mask freedom, but another area you travel to for a game doesn't?
"So for example, if I went over to Belchertown, and Belchertown mandated they have to still wear it, we have to wear it, and you're going to see that, you're going to see athletes that feel more comfortable wearing them, and that's okay," Doulette said.
But Armstrong said she can already feel the difference of freedom with the face covering off.
"I do distance, so I’m out here running three miles a day, and running with a mask is not fun at all so, being given this chance is great," Armstrong said.
Doulette can agree.
"Hallelujah," Doulette exclaimed.