The Department of Public Health released guidance for organized winter sports, including youth and adult club sports and private leagues.
It’s intended to guide local health departments, municipalities, and league organizers to assess the risk of contracting COVID-19.
“As we get into the winter season, there is a higher level of community spread of COVID-19 than there was a few months ago, and that impacts athletes in all sports, especially those played indoors,” Acting DPH Commissioner Deidre S. Gifford said in a statement.
"We have seen clusters of cases related to individual teams and sporting events, and this can be very disruptive to schools if youth or anyone else exposed then needs to quarantine due to exposure. Even though the effects of COVID-19 in youth tend to be less significant, children can easily spread infection to more vulnerable members of our community if exposed," Gifford continued.
The DPH defines higher-risk sports as those that involve close, sustained contact between participants, lack of significant protective barriers and high probability that respiratory particles will be transmitted between participants.
- Martial Arts
- 11-on-11 Football
- Boys Lacrosse
- Competitive cheer
- Competitive Dance Teams
The DPH defines moderate-risk sports as those that involve close, sustained contact, but with protective equipment in place that may reduce the likelihood of respiratory particle transmission between participants, or intermittent close contact, or group sports, or sports that use equipment that can't be cleaned between participants.
- Water Polo
- Ice Hockey
- Field Hockey
- Tennis (doubles)
- Swimming Relays
- Pole Vault
- High Jump
- Long Jump
- Girls Lacrosse
- Rowing/Crew (with two or more rowers in shell)
- 7-on-7 Football
The DPH defines lower-risk sports as those that can be done with social distancing or individually with no sharing of equipment or the ability to clean the equipment between use by competitors.
- Individual Running Events
- Throwing Events (javelin, shot put, discus)
- Running/Cross Country (staggered starts)
- Individual Swimming
- Alpine Skiing/Snowboarding
- Sideline Cheer
- Rowing/Crew (single sculling)
- Tennis (singles)
The DPH is not recommending out-of-state competitions for any sport.
Outdoor small group conditioning and non-contact drills are recommended for all sports risk categories. Indoor small group conditioning and non-contact drills are recommended if appropriate modifications are feasible.
For higher-risk sports, indoor or outdoor team practices, intra-squad scrimmages, in-state contests between two teams, and in-state multi-team meets or tournaments are not recommended.
For moderate-risk sports, outdoor team practices, intra-squad scrimmages, and in-state contests between two teams are recommended. These activities are also recommended indoors if appropriate modifications are feasible. Moderate-risk in-state multi-team meets or tournaments are not recommended.
For lower-risk sports, outdoor team practices, intra-squad scrimmages, in-state contests between two teams, and in-state multi-team meets or tournaments are recommended. These activities are also recommended indoors if appropriate modifications are feasible.
The DPH recommends mitigation strategies, including:
- Requiring the use of face-covering masks that completely cover the nose and mouth by all coaches and players (including during active play).
- Postponing indoor activities and/or moving indoor activities outdoors.
- Keeping individuals in small cohorts.
- Limiting/eliminating interactions with individuals outside of your household.
- Increasing and maintaining distance between participants.
- Implementing rule changes that reduce the number, frequency, duration, and/or exertional level of person-to-person physical contact.
These recommendations do not apply to college level or professional athletes.
More information can be found here.