WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – After months of having a mask mandate, a major shift begins statewide on Friday.

Masks will no longer be required in outdoor spaces, but masks will still be needed for some outdoor activities. It’s a Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association guidance.  

Locally, all spring sport athletes and spectators will be required to keep their masks on even if they can be socially distanced.  

“Students will still be mandated to wear proper face coverings during competition and during practices,” Springfield Public Schools Athletic Director Dwayne Early said. 

It’s been a controversial topic from the beginning: masks for children. Now, with the state’s relaxed face-covering mandate, it’s even more controversial. The MIAA said the mask mandate still stands, they will not be changing it at this time. Local school districts plan to follow it, saying it’s about safety. 

“Springfield Public Schools have acted in an abundance of caution with testing students periodically through each season so we just want to make sure we keep students and staff as safe as we possibly can,” Early said.

Baseball, softball, lacrosse, tennis, and track are just some of the sports in season. For all Massachusetts high schools, masks are to be worn at all times. Any change to that rule would require a vote from the MIAA board. 

Connecticut does not require a mask when actively playing and Maine does not require one at all.