COLUMBIA — Masks may likely be worn into 2022, according to Anthony Fauci. At some indoor mid-Missouri high school sporting events, there are few to be found in the stands.

A recent study from the CDC found that a lack of masks and social distancing led to 55 out of 81 gym participants to contract COVID-19 last summer. MU Health Care Infectious Disease Specialist Christelle Ilboudo says the lack of precautions inside can increase transmission risk.

"When you have spaces where people are exerting themselves not wearing a mask, you have some ventilation issue, there is a high change of somebody who's infected infecting others," Ilboudo said. "We definitely have to be more careful, careful, especially when you talk about indoor sports."

The Missouri State High School Activities Association is the governing body of senior high sports in the state. The Communications Director Jason West notes statewide rules would not be beneficial. 

"There are other areas of the state that are not as affected," West said. "Those [local guidelines] are going to be customized, if you will, for your area and what your area is going through right now."

Still, Ilboudo insists on continuing healthy safety practices.

"I think the message of social distancing, wearing a mask and washing our hands has not gone away," Ilboudo said "Until we are 'out of the woods' based on our numbers and our vaccination rates, I think those mitigation strategies that are personal will have to continue for some time."

Southern Boone Schools Superintendent Chris Felmlee says his district does its best to implement safety measures.

"We do all we can to enforce the rules," Felmlee said. "It ultimately comes down to people's personal choices."

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