By Lindsay Emery
The Pleasantville Village Board determined last week it would require everyone on all village athletic fields to wear face coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including those who are playing.
“Coaches can offer mask breaks for kids who need to take their masks off for some period of time in a socially distanced way off the field, but if you cannot wear a mask on the field, you cannot be there,” Mayor Peter Scherer said during the board’s Sept. 14 work session.
The Recreation Department sent out a statement regarding the decision, which went into effect the next day.
The policy was finalized after Pleasantville parents and members of Pleasantville FC and Pleasantville AYSO clarified whether the village previously mandated masks for participants on village fields.
Parent Catherine Kane said she had been unsure about the policy within the village and that she wanted to see children wearing masks on the fields. Children are able to wear masks during school and afterschool activities, so it would make sense for them to wear masks when using the municipal fields as well, she said.
The directive makes sense because even when students are outside for lunch, they have to be wearing masks, Pleasantville Board of Education member Angela Vella said.
“I don’t think it’s safe as a village, as a town, to allow use of the fields with no instruction to the public,” Kane said.
Trustee David Vinjamuri pointed out that Pleasantville’s survey of parents found that 95 percent of parents would feel comfortable with their kids wearing a mask during activities.
Pleasantville Youth Soccer Club board member John Vamossy asked whether that meant masks must be worn during physically strenuous activity. Both sides of the mask argument have been voiced by soccer parents, he said.
According to Vamossy, Pleasantville FC has not heard of any other towns instructing teams to wear masks while competing. Because of this, Vamossy anticipates that the club will be awarded few home games because teams from other communities may not want to play in Pleasantville where masks are required.
Ultimately, Vamossy had been looking for direction over what to mandate when coaching on village fields.
“We’re open to anything, but we’re looking for that guidance because the only legal standing we have right now is to utilize that (state guidance),” Vamossy said.
Superintendent of Recreation and Parks Matthew Trainor emphasized during last week’s work session that those who see others failing to abide by the mask rules while using the village fields should report them to the Recreation Department.
Leaf Blower Hearing Scheduled
In another decision, the Village Board scheduled a public hearing for the municipality’s proposed leaf blower regulations for Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 7:30 pm.