A Decatur High School student in Federal Way participates in a conditioning workout in Feb. 2021 as the state eased back in to in-person activities. Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing

A Decatur High School student in Federal Way participates in a conditioning workout in Feb. 2021 as the state eased back in to in-person activities. Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing

State announces mask requirements for student sports, performing arts

Athletes are not required to wear masks when participating in sports of any contact level while outside.

Students who play sports or take to the stage this school year will face some mask requirements, according to updated guidelines from the Washington State Department of Health.

For students, staff, faculty and other personnel of grades K-12, masks are required when indoors at any time. When outdoors, the Department of Health does not require masks, regardless of vaccination status.

Gov. Jay Inslee reinstated a statewide indoor mask mandate on Aug. 18. Starting Aug. 23, masks are to be worn by everyone, regardless of vaccination status, in retail stores, restaurants and other public indoor settings.

Children under age 5 and people with medical conditions that prevent wearing a face covering are exempt.


According to the state guidelines, when it comes to sports and athletics, students and staff must wear masks during indoor PE classes. Masks are not required to be worn when outside.

Athletes, coaches, trainers and other support staff should maintain at least 6 feet apart when not actively engaged in their sport, such as in the locker rooms or on the sidelines.

Schools must also have screening protocols for student-athletes, coaches, trainers and other staff who work with students who are not fully vaccinated and participating in high-contact sports.

In weight rooms, all athletes, coaches, trainers and support staff must wear masks, regardless of their vaccination status, due to the high-risk environment.

Federal Way Public Schools, for example, has categorized the sports risk levels of each activity. The low-contact sports include tennis, golf, gymnastics, cross country, track and field, sideline/no-contact cheer and no-contact dance.

Moderate contact sports are softball, baseball, soccer, volleyball and bowling. High contact sports include football, wrestling, cheerleading with contact, dance with contact, and basketball.

The Federal Way district, for example, is not requiring any individuals to wear masks while engaged in outdoor training or competition in any type of sport. Athletes are not required to wear masks when participating in sports of any contact level while outside.

Spectators and visitors at indoor K-12 sporting events are required to wear masks, regardless of their vaccination status, per the state guidelines. Audience members are encouraged to be seated with family members and separated from other small groups by at least 3 feet.

Health screening tests are required twice a week for all unvaccinated athletes in high-contact indoor sports, such as basketball and wrestling.

Fully vaccinated athletes do not have to participate in screening testing.

Performing arts

Masks are not required when outdoors and a social distance of at least 3 feet is recommended. When indoors, face masks are required for all students and faculty.

Singers, woodwinds and brass, speech/debate, and theater performers are required to wear appropriate masks while performing. Woodwinds and brass performers may remove their masks when performing on their instrument and must wear their mask during non-performance times.

Similar to sporting events, audience members should sit with their family members and be spaced 3 feet from other small groups. All audience members must wear masks.

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@vashonbeachcomber.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.vashonbeachcomber.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Sports

Two wins come back to back in season openers for girls’ soccer

Coming off of a second-place finish in the league, there is a lot of optimism about this season.

Local Swimmers Make a Splash as Official Competition Resumes

The excitement was palpable when the athletes took their first official laps as members of the team.

Island Rower is Selected to Compete at World Championships

In 2019, Davis Kelly and teammate Jordon Rutschow won an international doubles race in China.

Vashon Pirates Win Wrestling League Championship

After a season upended by the pandemic, the Pirates finished with Vashon style and flair.

Snoqualmie Casino unveiled the first immersive Seahawks-branded table game experience Sept. 18, 2020, in a ribbon cutting dedication with Snoqualmie Tribe Council members and Snoqualmie Casino executives. Courtesy photo
Gambling Commission OKs pacts with tribes for sports betting

Agreements with 15 tribes await approval by the governor and the feds.

Air Fills Lungs as Runners Return for Island Ultramarathon

The windy day did not deter the 10-mile and 50k (31 miles) runners from enjoying their day.

Island Wrestlers Impress at Triple Dual

On an already hot day, the Pirate wrestlers’ intensity and focus raised the temperature even more.

Pirate’s Strong Defensive Effort Falls Short

The fine defensive effort was not enough to overcome the lack of offensive production from Vashon.

Wrestling Recap: 2021 Is Already an Adventure

The team has pulled off an extraordinary amount of victories, the majority of them by pin.

Golf Team Finishes Season Strong Despite Pandemic Challenges

The coaches consider the season a success and look forward to a more experienced team next year.

Burton Beach Rowers Sail Ahead Despite COVID Constraints

Rowers were welcomed back to Vancouver Lake for the US Northwest Rowing Championships last weekend.

Baseball Goes Down to the Wire in Season-Ender Thriller

It was a thrilling finish that promises fun years ahead for Vashon Baseball.