Youth and high school sports can resume for the first time since March before the pandemic took over the country.
But there’s a catch.
For youth sports, the Nevada Response Center, in coordination with the Local Empowerment Advisory Panel (LEAP), released guidelines last week that outline the mandatory procedures that must be followed and the recommended best practices, including specific guidance for baseball, softball and soccer. Only spectator-less outdoor practice sessions are allowed, and health care screenings should be done prior to engaging in any physical activity. Rigorous cleaning of equipment and facilities should be conducted on a regular basis in addition to strict social distancing and use of facial coverings.
According to the release, the guidelines were developed with statewide and youth sports leagues and associations based on recommendations of public health officials and local health districts.
For youth sports in Churchill County, Fallon Youth Baseball and the Churchill County Youth Softball Association canceled their seasons last month but the county parks and recreation has planned on a couple camps for July: youth football and cheer, and volleyball. Youth football signups are also happening as Pop Warner and the Sierra Youth Football League are planning on a 2020 season.
The guidance document for youth sports includes many mandatory and recommended guidelines, which can be found online at nvhealthresponse.nv.gov. Some of the guidelines include 30-minute breaks in between training sessions to avoid crowding, sports in which participants cannot maintain social distancing must be limited to conditioning and drills, and cancellation of activities and practice for 14 days if a player or family member tests positive.
For high school sports, the restrictions are similar.
Gov. Steve Sisolak issued a declaration last week that allows county school districts, charter schools and private schools to reopen their athletic fields and facilities for student athletics training, practices, and competition in accordance with guidance promulgated by the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association (NIAA) and any applicable conditions set forth by directive regarding athletic events.
Before allowing student-athletes and coaches back in the gym or on the field, Churchill County School District and Oasis Academy College Prep are working on a reopening plan. Matt Reibsamen, assistant athletics director for Churchill County High School, said they’re planning on allowing activities to begin next week.
“As schools open their athletic fields and facilities, it is incumbent upon those who supervise and control the activities at those fields and facilities, to assure compliance with the restrictions and requirements in place,” the NIAA release said. “School and district administrators as well as athletic directors, coaches and athletic trainers should be completely familiar with and able to implement and monitor compliance with all restrictions and requirements associated with the current phase.”
Some of the new guidelines for reopening high school sports include limitations on gatherings of 10 people in a single indoor space or 50 people in an outdoor setting, social distancing and facial coverings apply, no sharing of clothing, water bottles, shoes or towels among players, all activities and practices are closed to the public, and athletic equipment should be cleaned between each use.
More information can be found on the NIAA’s website at www.niaa.com.