ST. PAUL, Minn. – New guidelines are out on resuming youth sports in Minnesota.
The state’s Department of Health (MDH) is recommending that youth games and scrimmages start June 24 or later for outdoor sports and July 1 or later for indoor sports.
“It is important that we look for opportunities to allow children to engage in activities that promote health and well-being,” says Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm. “While several key metrics show COVID-19 transmission is slowing, we are still in the middle of a pandemic. Learning to live with COVID-19 means finding ways to balance risks and benefits, and that’s what we are seeking to do with this guidance.”
Health officials say coaches, staff and spectators are being asked to practice social distancing and to wear a face covering at all times. The guidelines also say players should wear a face covering when possible, all adults and children involved in the activities should wash or sanitize hands often and keep hands away from their faces, and organizations are required to have a COVID-19 preparedness plan that integrates MDH guidance as well as current social distancing and social gathering requirements.
“Organized sports brings athletes together from different backgrounds, and it helps them to create lifelong bonds with mentors, teammates, coaches and fellow competitors,” said Minnesota IT Services Commissioner Tarek Tomes. “The new guidance, shaped by the partnerships we have built and the conversations we have had with members of the organized sports community, empowers Minnesotans to stay as safe as possible while resuming competitive play around the sports that we love.”
Additional precautions in the new guidance include:
• Avoid sharing individual water bottles, community snacks or towels.
• Encourage use of dedicated personal equipment such as bats, mitts, rackets, etc.
• Find new ways to show sportsmanship – tip your hats instead of handshakes.
• Ensure policies are considerate of staff, volunteers and participants at highest risk of complications from COVID-19.
• Adhere to social distancing recommendations when participants are not playing (on the bench, in the dugout, etc.).
• Practice social distancing of 6 feet from other households during player drop off/pick up.
• Friends and family should not attend practices to avoid crowding.
• Maintain health checks and screening of participants and staff/volunteers.
• Organizations should require participants and family members to stay home when sick
To view the full recommendations of MDH, click here.