Coronavirus: New youth baseball, softball guidelines include face coverings, distancing

Skip the gum and try not to huddle: Sports will look different in Ohio.

New youth baseball, softball guidelines include face coverings, distancing

Wear a mask, skip the chewing gum and try not to huddle: Youth sports will look different when they resume in Ohio.

Coaches, for example, must wear face coverings at all times. They are also required to do a daily symptom assessment and not make contact with players, coaches or umpires.

That means no high-fives, no postgame handshakes.

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Another baseball tradition is a no-no: no spitting or eating seeds or chewing gum. And the team water cooler won’t be seen in the dugout, either.

There won’t be huddles,, as players need to keep a 6-foot distance whenever possible. Umpires need to be mindful of distancing, too, which could mean they will get creative in finding positions to call balls and strikes.

The protocols go to the game balls, too. The defense should use one set of balls. When the teams switch sides, the balls should be switched, too.

Athletes and spectators are required to do self-assessments of possible symptoms, too, and anyone who may have symptoms should not be there. The athletes are required to wear face coverings when not actively playing, according to the protocols.

While it is recommended that spectators wear face coverings, it is not mandatory. However, maintaining social distancing in the stands is required. Spectators have to stay out of dugouts and off the fields, too. And after the game is not the time to gather and celebrate in the parking lot. Fans and players will have to find another way to celebrate the game or to have their post-game conversations.

Gov. Mike DeWine announced that low-contact or non-contact sports can resume May 26.

Now that baseball and softball guidelines have been released, sports organizations across the Miami Valley are working to figure out how to start up again, and how to contact all the parents and players.

Here is the complete list of protocols, listed by mandatory or best practice recommendations, created by the advisory group with Ohio.

Arrival to Venue (Mandatory):

  • All participants, spectators, and employees must adhere to six-foot physical distancing while at the facility/course.
  • Must conduct daily symptom assessments by coaches and players (self-evaluation). Anyone experiencing symptoms must stay home.*
  • No team water coolers or shared drinking stations.
  • Compliant game balls must be designated to each team for use while that team is playing defense.
  • Prior to competitive tournaments, event owners must alert the local health department of the event.
  • These requirements must be shared prior to the event with all players, coaches, spectators, officials, and employees prior to their arrival at the venue.

Recommended best practices:

  • Digital check-in and registration for all events.
  • Lineups should be entered online or by spoken word and recorded by officials/umpires without exchanging any physical documents with coaches or players.
  • Athletes are strongly recommended to travel to the venue alone or with a member of their immediate household.

Practices (Mandatory):

  • Coaches and players must adhere to physical six-foot distancing except when the ball is in play.
  • Coaches must wear face coverings at all times.
  • Athletes must wear face coverings at all times while not actively participating in the field of play.
  • Must conduct daily symptom assessments by coaches and players (self-evaluation). Anyone experiencing symptoms must stay home.
  • No team water coolers or shared drinking stations.

Recommended best practices:

  • Face coverings are strongly recommended for any spectators.
  • For each practice session, it is recommended that coaches divide players into groups and establish rotating shifts when possible.
  • Athletes should bring individual water containers.
  • Virtual meetings should be considered when possible.
  • Athletes are strongly recommended to travel to the venue alone or with a member(s) of their immediate household, if possible. Face coverings are strongly recommended for individuals traveling to and from the venue.
  • Whenever possible, equipment and personal items should have proper separation and should not be shared. If equipment must be shared, proper sanitation should be administered between users.

Athletes (Mandatory):

  • Must adhere to 6-foot social distancing practices off the field of play.
  • Must wear face coverings at all times when not actively participating in the field of play.
  • Must conduct daily symptom assessments by coaches and players (self-evaluation). Anyone experiencing symptoms must stay home.*
  • Must not share water or equipment. Belongings should be used only by the individual owner or operator including, but not limited to water bottles, gloves, bats, hats, and other on- and off-field gear.
  • No touch rule – players should refrain from high fives, handshake lines, and other physical contact with teammates, opposing players, coaches, umpires, and fans. A “tip the cap” can be used following the game in lieu of the handshake line.
  • No spitting or eating seeds, gum, other similar products.

Recommended best practices:

  • Hand washing or hand sanitizing, in the absence of soap and water, are strongly recommended for athletes during the games.
  • Whenever possible, equipment and personal items should have proper separation and should not be shared. If equipment must be shared, proper sanitation should be administered between users.

Spectators (Mandatory):

  • Must adhere to 6-foot social distancing practices. This includes in and around bleachers for anyone not in the same family.
  • Must conduct daily symptom assessments (self-evaluation). Anyone experiencing symptoms must stay home.*
  • Must not enter player areas (on the field of play or bench areas).
  • Must stay 6 feet or more away from the backstop

Recommended best practices:

  • Strongly recommended to wear face coverings at all times.
  • Hand washing or hand sanitizing, in the absence of soap and water, is recommended strongly during the games

Coaches (Mandatory):

  • Must adhere to 6-foot social distancing practices.
  • Must wear face coverings at all times.
  • Must conduct daily symptom assessments by coaches and players (self-evaluation). Anyone experiencing symptoms must stay home.
  • No spitting or eating seeds, gum or other similar products.
  • No touch rule – coaches should refrain from high fives, handshake lines, and other physical contact with teammates, opposing players, coaches, umpires, and fans. A “tip the cap” can be used following the game in lieu of the handshake line.
  • Must ensure that players are following COVID-19 -related prevention measures included herein.

Recommended best practices:

  • Coaches should ensure the players are adhering to social distancing in dugouts and other seating areas and wearing face coverings while not actively participating on the field of play.
  • Whenever possible, equipment and personal items should have proper separation and should not be shared. If equipment must be shared, proper sanitation should be administered between users.

Umpires and officials (Mandatory):

  • Must adhere to 6-foot social distancing practices when interacting with players, coaches, and spectators off the field of play.
  • Must conduct daily symptom assessments (self-evaluation). Anyone experiencing symptoms must stay home.
  • Must wear face coverings at all times.
  • Must avoid exchanging documents or equipment with players, coaches, or spectators.

Recommended best practices:

  • Digital check-in and registration for all events.
  • Umpires calling balls and strikes should allow adequate distance behind the catcher while still able to perform their duty.

Leaving the venue (Mandatory):

  • Individuals should not congregate in common areas or parking lot following the event or practice
  • Umpires should adhere to social distancing practices when interacting with players, coaches, and spectators off the field of play.
  • Individuals should not exchange items.

Recommended best practices:

  • Team meetings should occur virtually or over the phone rather than in a team huddle.
  • Athletes are strongly recommended to travel to the venue alone or with a member(s) of their immediate household, if possible. Face coverings are strongly recommended for individuals traveling to and from the venue.
  • Team meals should only occur in compliance with the guidelines issued for restaurants in the state of Ohio.

Confirmed cases (Mandatory):

  • Immediately isolate and seek medical care for any individual who develops symptoms.
  • Contact the local health district about suspected cases or exposure.
  • Organizer must maintain a complete list of coaches, players, and employees present at each event to include the date, beginning and ending time of the event, plus name, address, and phone contact to be made available upon request from local health district.

Recommended best practices:

  • Work with local health department to identify potentially infected or exposed individuals to help facilitate effective contact tracing/ notifications.
  • Once testing is readily available, test all suspected infections or exposures.
  • Following testing, contact local health department to initiate appropriate care and tracing.

This full list can be found on the state’s website. Click here to go to the list.