Face masks required for youth sports

The ACCD released guidance on youth and adult recreational sports. Face coverings are required for all participants during sporting events.

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Journal Sports

Face masks will be required for most recreational and youth sports throughout the state, according to guidance from the Agency of Commerce and Community Development. The guidance is set to take effect Sept. 8.

"Cloth face coverings will be required at all times when physical distance of six feet cannot be consistently maintained, including during practices, scrimmages, games, meets and competitions for sports that involve contact or close proximity," according to the ACCD.

These guidelines mirror the VPA's in regards to fall sports during the upcoming fall sports season.

There will be no youth tackle football this year, as tackle football is considered a high contact sport. High contact sports, as well as indoor sports with close proximity or moderate contact" are not allowed to participate in games at this time.

Like high school, youth football will have the option to play one or two-hand touch 7-on-7. Another possibility is flag football.

Other sports being considered "high-contact" or indoor sports with "close proximity or moderate contact" include wrestling, rugby, 5-on-5 basketball and cheerleading. These sports are allowed to hold practice sessions limited to no and low contact physical conditioning and skill building drills.

Full contact scrimmages and games and cheer stunting are not permitted at this time.

Lower contact versions of these activities, such as sideline cheer, or 3-on-3 outdoor basketball may be considered as alternatives.

SPORTS BREAKDOWN

Outdoor sports with no or low contact such as cross country running (with staggered starts), golf, tennis, bass fishing tournaments, sideline cheer, single sculling, alpine skiing, snowboarding, nordic skiing, track and field may hold team practice sessions, games, competitions and meets.

Outdoor sports with short-duration, incidental contact like soccer, softball, baseball, girls lacrosse, field hockey, 7-on-7 football (no tackle) and crew with two or more rowers may also hold practices, scrimmages and games.

Outdoor sports of close proximity or moderate contact such as boys lacrosse, ultimate frisbee and 3-on-3 basketball may hold practices, scrimmages and games.

Outdoor sports that are considered close proximity or moderate contact, such as boys lacrosse, ultimate frisbee, 3-on-3 basketball may hold team practices sessions, scrimmages and games. The ACCD suggests sports leagues and organizations should give strong consideration to implementing modifications to reduce intensity of face-to-face contact and promote physical distancing. An example of this is to eliminate face-offs in boys lacrosse.

Indoor sports that fall under no or low contact, like track and field, individual event swimming, gymnastics, and figure skating may hold team practice sessions, competitions and meets.

Indoor sports considered short-duration, incidental contact such as indoor soccer, ice hockey, broomball, volleyball and team dance may hold team practice sessions, scrimmages and games at this time.

High contact indoor sports, close proximity or moderate contact sports like football, wrestling, rugby, 5-on-5 basketball, cheerleading can hold practice sessions limited to no and low contact, physical conditioning and skill building drills. Full contact scrimmages and games and cheer stunting are not permitted.

Indoor sports should only be considered when there is no viable outdoor alternative.

HEALTH GUIDELINES

Masks are required to be worn for all, including during stoppage of play. That includes during timeouts.

Those with a documented medical or behavioral reason for not wearing a facial covering should not be required to wear one.

The guidance also states that everyone involved in the sport, including coaches, players, officials, staff and spectators should complete a health check before arriving at practice sessions, scrimmages, games, meets or competitions.

During times when athletes are not actively participating in practice or competition, a physical distance of at least six feet should be maintained.

A maximum of 75 (indoors) and 150 (outdoors) people are allowed to be present during a sporting event at this time.

Sporting events in Vermont may only occur between or involve Vermont-based teams or teams from counties eligible for quarantine-free travel to Vermont, based on the most recent map published by the ACCD.

The ACCD encourages an "arrive, play, and leave" mentality; actively discourage gathering in groups before or after activities.

When possible, players should arrive to their game dressed to play to eliminate time spent in close-proximity inside a locker room or other indoor settings.

Jamborees, or tournament-style play, is still not allowed. This will be reevaluated on Nov. 1.

The home team or meet coordinator must keep a list of all participants within a 30 day period for contract-tracing purposes.

The ACCD guidance regarding youth and adult recreational sports will be reviewed and updated, as necessary, on or about Oct. 15.


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