Youth and Sports Guidance
Sporting activities, particularly those that involve contact, increase the likelihood of transmission between the athletes participating.
According to the CDC, risk of COVID-19 spread can be different, depending on the type of activity.
- Lowest Risk: Performing skill-building drills or conditioning at home, alone or with members of the same household
- Increasing Risk: Team-based practice
- More Risk: Within-team competition
- Higher Risk: Full competition between teams from the same local geographic area (e.g., city or county)
- Highest Risk: Full competition between teams from different geographic areas (e.g., outside county or state)
Participation in sporting activities is voluntary and every individual will need to evaluate the risk versus benefits of athletics participation. Athletes and coaches who are immunocompromised, or those who live with family members with elevated health concerns, should evaluate associated risks of participation and may choose not to participate
Additionally, spectators at sporting events are traditionally a very social activity. There are numerous opportunities for close contact in the form of congregating, talking, handshaking, hugging, etc. Spectators at sporting events tend to raise their voice to cheer and yell. These activities cause droplets to spread further, thus increasing the risk of transmission. For these reasons, both athletes and spectators are limited under the current Public Health Order to prevent transmission of the COVID-19 virus.
The existing guidance permits non-contact and contact sport practices and competitive play within stable groups of 50 players. Spectators are also limited to a total of 100 people, or 50% occupancy of the spectator area, whichever is less. Anyone seeking to exceed these limitations must submit an Operational Plan to PHHS at firstname.lastname@example.org new email.
- Stay at home when sick.
- All organized sport leagues, including recreational leagues, must keep a roster (including name, phone number and email address) of every athlete, staff and volunteer present at each practice, training session, and contest to assist with contact tracing in the event of a possible exposure. Youth league rosters should also include the same information for the parent(s)/guardian(s). Similarly, keep a roster and seating chart for each travel group. Attendance rosters and seating charts must be kept on file for 30 days after the practice, contest, or trip. A template for collecting contact information can be found here.
- Design and implement screening protocols for each sporting event. More information about screening can be found under the ‘COVID-19 Screening’ subsection.
- Adhere to social distancing guidelines (at least 6 feet from those outside your household) at all times.
- All athletes, coaches, umpires, and spectators should wear a mask at all times when in the facility and unable to socially distance themselves from others. This excludes players while they are actively participating and field umpires and referees.
- It is recommended that all sporting facilities appoint an event designee. This person will oversee all COVID-19 compliance to local orders and train event staff on proper protocols.
- Do not share food, drinks, including water bottles, clothing, towels or other personal items.
- There must be no hand shaking, high fiving, or fist bumping at any time. These are not in compliance with social distancing requirements under the Public Health Order.
- Limit group workout sizes.
- Virtual meetings should be encouraged whenever possible.
- Develop and implement a scheduling system to allow for one team per facility for games and practices. Space the schedule to allow for cleaning and disinfecting in between sporting activities.
- Example: Volleyball practice at 1 p.m. Indoor soccer workouts at 5 p.m. to allow for proper cleaning between groups of players within the facility.
The list below highlights areas that should be disinfected routinely throughout any business operations or training. In addition to an established process, disinfectant spray or wipes should be made available for both staff and patrons to disinfect as needed throughout the day. This list should by no means be considered complete, however it is intended to assist any operation considering their specific environment and interactions that occur between staff and patrons.
- Common areas → Restrooms, seating areas
- Entry areas → Ticket/admission counters; Personal items/Bag check; Kiosks/Patron input devices; Entry gates; Time Clock; Railings
- Food Service → Cashiers/Points of Sale; Dispensers and Condiment Stations; Foods and Containers; Fryers and Ovens; Dishwashing and Utensils
- Other Operational areas → Break rooms, storage rooms
- All players, coaches, staff, spectators and other event athletes should be screened for COVID-19 before entering the sporting facility/event.
- The screening process involves a series of questions, including but not limited to:
- Asking if the person is currently experiencing, or has experienced within the last 24 hours, any illness, especially any symptoms that are present among COVID-19 infections. A full list of symptoms can be found below.
- Asking if the person has recently had contact with a known COVID-19 case.
- At this time it is not required that sporting facilities/events take the temperature of all athletes on site. This is because the symptoms of COVID-19 vary widely and not everyone who is infectious may have a fever at the time of screening. For this reason, the series of questions above is the recommended screening method.
- Any individual who fails a screening, either based on symptoms or previous exposure, should be asked to leave the facility immediately.
- A determination should be made about whether the individual’s symptoms dictate that they contact their healthcare provider or go to an emergency room.
- It is highly recommended that any individual, student athlete, coach, athletic trainer, support staff or official exhibiting signs of COVID-19 be tested for the virus. Once tested, the individual should stay home until results are received. It is recommended that all athletes consult with their healthcare provider before returning to contests.
COVID-19 Symptoms and Procedures
People with COVID-19 have a wide range of symptoms, ranging from mild to severe. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Symptoms include:
- Fever or chills (Fever is determined to be anything more than 100.4 degrees fahrenheit).
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
CDC will continue to update this list as more is learned about COVID-19. A current list of COVID-19 symptoms is available here:
All players, coaches, staff members and any other Boone County resident that has been exposed to a case, or is awaiting results of a COVID-19 test, should isolate at home until results are received. Individuals who test positive for COVID-19 or who have been identified as close contacts should follow the specific protocol established by PHHS.
There are different circumstances that will determine how long individuals will need to isolate or quarantine themselves to minimize the spread. Please refer to PHHS guidance regarding positive cases and close contacts, as this information is fluid and may change.
It is recommended that returning to sport after a positive test is determined by a healthcare provider. Although someone may be released from isolation as soon as 10 days after symptom onset, there may be long-term effects or persisting symptoms after the person is no longer considered contagious. It is best to consult with your primary care physician before returning to play.
Determining close contacts is an important step in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the sports setting. All players on contact sports teams should begin quarantining until PHHS is able to conduct a case investigation if a player tests positive. Opposing teams of contact sports should be notified if a player tested positive or developed symptoms within 48 hours after gameplay. Players on limited and no contact teams can continue play as long as they were not within 6 feet of the infected individual for more than 15 minutes. Examples of non-contact, limited-contact and non-contact sports are listed below.
Contact level for sports offered in Boone County, as determined by previous Health Orders.
Examples of Sports
Golf, Swimming and Diving, Tennis, Track & Field
Baseball/Softball, Cross Country, Gymnastics
Basketball, Football, Wrestling, Soccer, Lacrosse, Rugby, Volleyball, Competitive Cheer
*Based on definitions from the SEC.
If a member of your team or organization has COVID-19
My athlete says they tested positive for COVID-19 but I haven’t heard from PHHS. What do I do?
If the athlete informs you in person that they are infected with COVID-19, send them home immediately. They will begin isolating at home from all individuals. Isolation will continue until all of the following criteria are met:
If the person has symptoms:
- At least 10 days have passed since symptoms began. AND
- At least 24 hours (1 full day) have passed since the last fever. AND
- Other symptoms have improved.
If the person does not have symptoms:
- At least 10 days have passed since the date of their first positive COVID-19 diagnostic test assuming they have not subsequently developed symptoms since their positive test. If they develop symptoms, then follow the criteria above.
Once the positive case is isolated at home, the coach should determine who all close contacts to the positive case were. If necessary, PHHS may contact your organization for information on close contacts. It is important to keep rosters of who was at practices and games each day so we can do contact tracing quickly. Close contacts are considered those who came within 6 ft. for a cumulative 15 minutes or anyone who had physical contact with a positive case while the positive case was infectious. The infectious period is considered to be 2 days prior to showing symptoms, or 2 days prior to testing positive without symptoms. Known close contacts on the sports team should be sent home immediately to begin their 14-day quarantine. Close contacts and positive cases can request a letter from PHHS to share with their coach for documentation.
Examples of activities that could make contact sport athletes a close contact could include:
- High fives, hand shakes, and chest bumps, etc
- Team huddles
- Not social distancing on sidelines or locker rooms
- Any in-game and in-practice contact, etc
Examples of activities that could make limited contact sport athletes a close contact could include:
- High fives, hand shakes, and chest bumps, etc
- Team huddles
- Playing directly across the net
- Any in-game and in-practice contact
- Baseball/softball catcher
- Not social distancing on sidelines, dugout, or locker rooms, etc
Examples of activities that could make non-contact sport athletes a close contact could include:
- High fives, hand shakes, and chest bumps, etc
- Team huddles
- Running in non-social distanced pods
- Sharing a golf cart
- Any in-race or in-practice contact
- Warming up together, etc
Once the positive case is isolated at home and close contacts are notified to begin quarantine, the coach should clean and disinfect all shared surfaces and/or equipment that the person may have touched while infectious. Follow CDC guidance for cleaning and disinfecting. A list of EPA-approved disinfectants can be found online.
My athlete says they are a contact to a positive case but I haven’t heard from PHHS. What do I do?
If the athlete informs you in person that they are a contact of a positive COVID-19 case, send them home immediately. They will begin their quarantine at home for 14 days. Your athlete cannot return to play until the entire 14-day quarantine is complete. This is because a person can become infectious at any time during the 14-day incubation period. Even if the person tests negative, they must not return to play until the quarantine is over. Close contacts can request a letter from PHHS to share with their coach for documentation.