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Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech players won't have to wear face masks during Saturday’s game

Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech players won't have to wear face masks during Saturday’s game

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Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente and defensive coordinator Justin Hamilton fist bump prior to last month’s game against Miami. Despite the Hokies’ struggles on defense this season, Fuente says he does not anticipate any staff changes.

BLACKSBURG — Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech players won’t have to wear face masks during Saturday’s game.

The Pennsylvania health department's recently updated COVID-19 guidelines initially called for players to wear face masks during competition, but Pittsburgh’s athletic department received additional guidance from the governor’s office on Friday afternoon that cleared up the confusion.

“Pitt football student-athletes will be outfitted with face coverings throughout the game,” Pitt said in a statement. “However, they will not be required to have the coverings pulled up while in the midst of play to prevent the impairment of breathing. Such usage of face coverings during competition would be in compliance with Section 3 of the Secretary of Health’s Face Covering Order.”

The ACC rivals are scheduled to play at Heinz Field at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Pittsburgh was in contact with Virginia Tech’s medical staff including Chief Medical Officer Mark Rogers on Friday as they received updates on the situation.

A Tech spokesperson said the team’s players would be “outfitted accordingly.” Pittsburgh plans on having players wear neck gaiters, so they can cover their face on the sidelines. 

Pitt’s game last week against Georgia Tech was postponed with both teams dealing with positive coronavirus cases and players sidelined from contact tracing. The Panthers returned to the practice field on Tuesday morning after the results came back from a round of coronavirus tests administered on Sunday.

The ACC’s health guidelines mandate each team is tested three times per week.

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