Superintendents, activity directors, and student athletes in the Northeast Iowa Conference are uniting this winter with one clear message for their fans: “Wear a face covering.”

In a 7-0 vote, leadership with the Northeast Iowa Conference is requiring fans to wear a face covering at indoor sporting events, conference officials said Monday in a news release. Face coverings need to be worn as fans enter the building and remain on while indoors. The NEIC will enforce this procedure during basketball, wrestling, and bowling season.

“This procedure is in place to provide our students the best opportunity to have a successful, uninterrupted, full season,” conference officials stated. “Teams across the state had to temporarily suspend their fall season due to local COVID-19 outbreaks. This procedure helps keep our students and spectators safe while allowing them the best opportunities to support their student athletes in person.”

Limiting access to games is another solution if fans are not able to properly wear face coverings, the conference added.

Details on face covering enforcement:

• It applies to all fans of indoor contests in-conference and non-conference match-ups.

• It applies for all high school and middle school contests.

• Persons must wear a face covering to enter the gym.

• Face coverings must cover the nose and mouth.

• Face coverings should be worn the entire time a fan is in the building.

• Fans who do not wear a face covering may be asked to leave.

The NEIC high schools are Oelwein, Waverly-Shell Rock, New Hampton, Charles City, Decorah, Crestwood and Waukon.