State: No need to wear mask while ‘face is underwater’


The State of Alaska Department of Health and Social Services advises school athletic programs that swimmers don’t need to wear masks while swimming, but they should don them once they get to the pool deck.

That is among the recommendations being made for school athletic programs across the state.

Now, the Alaska School Activities Association says it’s a mandate: Wrestlers must wear masks. Runners — indoors and outdoors — must wear masks. Volleyball players must wear them, and swimmers must wear them if their faces are not underwater.

The mandate includes playing basketball, wrestling, cheerleading, hockey and indoor soccer.

Earlier this fall, players could choose to wear masks while engaged in vigorous activity, but some local school plans said athletes didn’t have to wear face coverings during exertion. 

A petition is now circulating to oppose the recommendation.

The state says leading doctors recommend them always during sporting activities, except when you are at home.

“That same strong recommendation for mask wearing goes for adults working out, running on treadmills, or exercising in other ways in indoor gyms. The exception? Swimmers can’t wear a mask when their faces are in the water (but they do need to wear one on the pool deck).”

“I am 100 percent in favor of safe distancing and universal masking,” said Dr. Bruce Chandler, chief medical officer with the Anchorage Health Department.

“Unless our face is underwater, I think we should all be wearing masks when we’re around people — except when we’re at home.” – Dr. Bruce Chandler, Anchorage Health Department

Volleyball mask rules from ASAA are an example of how far this rule goes:

  • Athletes/participants not wearing cloth face coverings will not play or be allowed onthe bench.
  • When mask comes off and falls to the floor – immediate whistle (for safety concerns) and a re-play will occur.
  • When mask becomes loose or off:
    1. if attempt is made by the player to adjust the mask to fix the problem-no whistle– play on
    1. if no attempt is made by the player to adjust the mask to fix the problem- whistle and side out point awarded
    2. if removal of the mask is intentional – whistle and side out point awarded and that player is removed from the court

The State Department of Health and Social Services says masks during matches and games will make things more fair.

“If all youth athletes wear masks, it will level the playing field and eliminate any competitive advantage attached to not wearing a mask,” said Dr. Elizabeth Ohlsen, staff physician with the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services. 

Read the State recommendations for youth and adult athletes here.


  1. Formulated by Berkowitz and his liberal ‘homies’ in Juneau. Bet the kids who want their sports might have a word on this issue.

  2. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The only way to fix state government is to shut it down and start over from scratch. Obviously DPS, DOC and sub departments like the Pioneer Home system cannot be shut down but most everything else can be for a short time period. Require SOA employees to reapply for their former positions and explain (in detail) what skill sets they bring to the workplace that are beneficial to the employer. Anyone who can’t provide a good response shouldn’t be hired back.

  3. How gracious the Crown is to allow persons underwater to not wear a mask. How will this work for hockey where a player must have their helmet and cage/full shield down at all times on bench and ice when water is needed. Currently players squirt a stream through their cage and move on with their lives. Additionally how are officials expected to enforce the mouthpiece (a proven effective safety device, unlike the muzzles) rule with a this mask over the mouth a nose?

  4. No masks for swimmers while underwater? How about scuba masks? In fact, if this virus is the vicious killer they portray it to be, shouldn’t we all be wearing radiation suits and some type of self contained breathing apparatus? I would like to see our city council here in Juneau start this trend.

  5. When are the parents of these athletes going to tell the state health department where they can put their absurd rules? Young people are next to zero risk of getting or transmitting China Virus. There is NO reason any healthy person should be wearing a face diaper. Sick people can choose to wear them and even then they are ineffective.

  6. Really so baffling that MRAK and its Readers ridicule those who are trying to help them.

    Perhaps the concept of helping others is a bit foreign to them…

    • Help them with what? The “science” concerning Wearing of face masks to protect us against the China virus is far from conclusive by any reasonable measure. Wearing masks while competing in sports or during vigorous exercise appears outright absurd.

    • As in “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you”? Most people don’t believe in that fairy tale any more.

  7. How many lives would be saved if we outlawed the wheel.?
    Require people to wear helmets 24 seven?

    CDC’s new stats says only 6% of the plus 200,000 deaths were solely covid related

  8. It’s a good idea. I mean, people are dropping dead all over Anchorage. We need to get a handle on this extinction event before it reaches mass proportions. Masks will do that. Just like they’ve done everywhere else in the world…

    Resist Medical Dictatorship:
    Defund the CDC.

  9. Solution seems simple.
    Just say, no. Ditch the “Alaska School Activities Association”.
    Surely, competitive athletics among schools existed, thrived even, before the “Alaska School Activities Association” became a Ruling Force.
    This comes as no surprise. Alaska’s schools are nationally recognized among the worst for overpriced, underperforming academic products, so one has no reason to hope Alaska’s school sports programs would be managed differently.

  10. I actually thought this was a spoof piece, but sadly, I think it is true! It is hard enough to breath with a mask on while grocery shopping. How in the hell are you going to play basketball in a mask? And wrestling? Those masks would be ripped off every couple of seconds. This has all gotten way out of control.
    Side note: I have stumbled through this pandemic, adhering to the “rules”, wearing my mask when required, sanitizing my hands until they bleed, wiping down everything in my path, and I caught the Rona. The only way you aren’t going to catch this is if you never leave your house for the rest of your natural life and never again have contact with another human or outside object. As a survivor, I say lets get on with our lives. Enough already.

  11. The new weapon on the field or on the court. Handicap the athletes and control the activities by mandating the masks. Disciple , extra points awarded or athletes removed from competition will be used. ASAA has began the destruction of Alaska’s school sports activities. Let’s start controlling the students eating, their sleeping and speaking to others. Where does it stop Masks do not work, I’ll say it again Masks are controlling so much of our live and attitudes. Masks do not work. Wash your hands, keep a distance, stay home if your not feeling well. Take your vitamins supplements, get plenty of sleep. LIVE, breathe, smile. Let fear go.

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