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Taos Lady Tiger hurdler Karyssa Gutierrez (center) competes alongside Española Valley's Madison Norris in the 100-meter hurdles during the Taos Tiger Invite 2019. Schools are still waiting word from the New Mexico Activities Association and the governor's office on whether prep sports can resume in February.

Sally Marquez, executive director of the New Mexico Activities Association, answered questions Monday (Jan. 11) about the return to athletics and activities for the 2020-2021 school year. Here is this week's interview.

Let's jump right into it. Have you gotten any indication from the governor's office or the Department of Health or Department of Education if we are any closer to returning to sports?

The only indication I've received is they are discussing it and they're not ready to make a decision just yet. So, there has been no decision at this point from the governor's office, the Public Education Department or the Department of Health.

The NMAA recently announced a partnership with Snap Mask Sports. Does that mean that when sports return all student athletes will be required to wear masks during competition?

I think at this point, all student athletes for the remainder of this school year, even in spring sports, need to be prepared that it is mask-wearing and that's for practice and competition.

Will athletes and coaches be required to get vaccinated when it becomes available to the rest of the general public?

That decision has not been made yet. That's not going to be a decision the NMAA is going to make. That decision will come down from the Department of Health, the Public Education Department and the governor's office. When we get that decision, we will make sure everybody is aware.

We've seen athletes leave the state to play elsewhere. Will they be able to come back and play in New Mexico when sports resume?

Right now, our bylaws have not changed when it comes to transfer guidelines. However, if sports do not happen (and that's so hard for me to say), if something happens where we are not able to play sports this whole school year then we will look at our transfer guidelines and make sure that any kids who are leaving the state to play and then come back that we don't penalize them in any way. That is still to be determined.

Arizona recently announced they are not having winter sports, is that any indication that New Mexico won't have winter sports either?

That's the first thing I thought of (after hearing that) is 'Now what?' New Mexico is one of four states that have not played any sports at all. The governor has made the decision based on New Mexico. No decision has been made based on what Texas is doing, Colorado is doing or Arizona is doing. It's been that way from the beginning. So, I do not think that's going to change any decision from the governor's office from New Mexico.

Lastly, a return to fall and winter sports are both up in the air, although we should know soon one way or another. Where are we with spring sports who missed out their entire season last year?

It was the end of March when we started doing these Q&A's and I had to tell the spring sports that they're not going to have a season, that was tough. I've been saying that whatever we do we need to preserve spring sports. Those kids need an opportunity to have a season and that has not changed. I don't know what's going to happen with the fall and winter sports. I am still very hopeful that we are going to play here in New Mexico. We have not heard from the governor's office on that yet. Spring sports are on the schedule right now from the beginning of April to the end of June. I am very hopeful for spring sports during that time period and I am going to do everything I can to make sure our spring sport athletes have a good solid season so that it's not two years in a row that they've been out of playing spring sports.

We need to stay positive and we need to wait on word from the governor's office and we are going to play again New Mexico.

Find more information and interviews at nmact.org.

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