Safety Guidance and Policies

NFHS Safety Guidance

Cloth face masks can be worn by players and coaches.

Plastic face shields are not permitted for player use. Clear visors are still allowed (Rule 1-5-3).

Only gloves that meet the NOCSAE standard or SFIA specification at the time of manufacture may be worn by players (Rule 1-5-2). The use of medical gloves is not permitted.

Team boxes for players shall extend between the 10-yard lines. Coaches must remain between the 25-yard lines.

Only one captain for each team shall be present for the coin toss. 

Charged timeouts may be extended to a maximum of two minutes.

Intermission between periods 1 & 3 may be extended to a maximum of two minutes.

Spring football contests will be played using the 2020 NFHS Football Rules.

WDFOA Policies

All officials are to report to the game site, fully dressed, 30 minutes prior to kickoff for both Varsity and Junior Varsity contests. Pregame meetings shall take place on the field or at a location near the field that allows for proper social distancing. School buildings or locker rooms shall not be used for pregame meetings or for other gatherings.

Probationary Member and Associate Member evaluations will not be conducted during the 2020-2021 football season.

Officials are not responsible for enforcing social distancing measures or other COVID-related safety procedures for teams, coaches, or other school-based staff. 

Teams are responsible for cleaning and sanitizing game balls as often or as little as they prefer. Teams must relay the football back to the officials during the game in a timely manner. Officials will not permit the stoppage or resetting of play clocks to permit ball substitutions. 

Officials must keep their availability updated in Arbiter. Game schedules can quickly change and the Commissioner needs the most current information during the assigning process should a reschedule occur. 

What should be done if I’m not feeling well and I’m scheduled for a game?

Call Al Ferraro (301-384-4562) so that adjustments can be made in a timely manner. Determine if you are experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, monitor your health, and possibly schedule a test for COVID-19.

What happens if I test positive for COVID-19 or if I am in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19?

Call Al Ferraro (301-384-4562) as soon as you become aware of the positive test or the exposure. A close contact is anyone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more. This will allow our organization to identify and notify officials who may also have been exposed. Individuals are still considered close contacts even if they were wearing a face mask while around someone with COVID-19. The Maryland Department of Health will also complete their own form of contact tracing, though this might take slightly longer due to the high volume of cases in the state.

What personal protective equipment can I wear during games?

Officials must wear a cloth mask that covers the nose and mouth at all times while on school property. Officials may also wear gloves or carry hand sanitizer on the field. 

Can I blow my whistle during the game?

Yes, officials may lower their masks to blow their whistle as needed. In order to reduce overall whistle usage, non-covering officials should not blow “echo” or “me too” whistles to signal the end of a play. Officials may use an electronic whistle, may purchase a mask specifically designed to be used with a whistle, or may purchase a whistle cover.