Seattle Central Little League Spring 2021 Covid Safety Plan
Approved by the SCLL Board January 27th, 2021
SCLL has worked to develop a safe return to play plan for the 2021 baseball and softball season. Covid-19 is recognized as a serious global pandemic and our league will take all measures to maximize the safety of its participants, support staff and surrounding community with regards to Covid exposure. We will follow guidance from local governmental recommendations as well as national and local health agencies, understanding that these are subject to frequent change. Likewise, we recognize that the safety outlined below is considered our starting point for Covid safety, but this may change throughout the course of the season.
- Timing: proposed start time for the season April 1st. This will be the date that teams will be allowed to gather for practice. The goal for the season start, with team vs team competition May 1st. Delaying from the traditional March start allows further recovery from the winter Covid surge and better prospects for state clearance for outdoor sports gathering.
- Deferral of skills day: due to the difficult logistics for keeping safe social distancing surrounding this event, this event will not take place. Rather, the coaches will meet to draft teams in an equitable manner based on:
- prior knowledge of returning players
- brief questionnaires sent to the parents of new players summing their child's prior ball playing experience and rough skills. We understand the limitations of this method
- Team size: goal to keep teams to 11-12 maximum players in order to minimize interactions and contact exposures. T Ball team size: goal limit to 6-8. These are recommendations and not fixed limits.
- Liability waiver: all participants must have a legal guardian sign the Liability waiver for Covid exposure risks. This waiver will be made available online as part of the registration process, as well as paper copies if needed.
- Covid commitment Letter: all participants must have a legal guardian sign a Covid commitment letter outlining their agreement to participate in all required safety measures outlined by the league. This is a starting point for bringing the participants and guardians on board with the culture of safety. There will continue to be frequent reinforcement from the league and coaches throughout the season about safety measures.
PARENT COVID COORDINATOR POSITION:
- Each team shall designate one parent/guardian as the team’s head “Covid coordinator” as the team coaches do not have the bandwidth to run practice/game and complete all of the necessary Covid safety measures. As a member of the team staff interacting on a regular basis, a background check will be needed for this position. A team cannot take the field for practice or game until the Covid coordinator has fulfilled their duties.
- Understanding that the head Covid coordinator may not be available for every practice or game, they can delegate the duty to another guardian as long as they have been given proper instruction. Some teams may choose to have a “committee” of Covid coordinators, however, one member shall be delegated as the head coordinator.
- For practices: the Covid coordinator shall be present for the check in process. Once the practice has started and the coaches feel safe, the coordinator may leave. For games: the coordinator should remain present throughout.
- Duties include:
- Confirming pre-screening attestation (see below) for symptoms and exposure risks. This screening may be completed online, pending app or web site development, or on a paper flow sheet at the field prior to each practice and game. This checklist will also serve as a tracing mechanism in case of exposure.
- Ensure appropriate PPE is available to participants at the time of practice or game.
- Assist in organizing the players and equipment outside the dugout to meet social distancing guidelines
- Monitor for gross infractions of social distancing, provide appropriate warnings and help with isolation of individuals who either are non-compliant or potentially showing concerning symptoms while on the field.
- Be a point of contact, along with the team coaches, for parents to communicate about any known exposure risks.
PRE SCREENING ATTESTATION:
- The safety committee, as guided by medical experts within the committee, has approved a questionnaire to be answered by the guardian prior to each practice or game related to concerning symptoms and exposure risks. All of these questions must be answered satisfactorily prior to the participant entering the field for practice or game. Temperature screening is not recommended due to very poor utility in this setting.
- The attestation may be completed electronically, if available, or on paper and collected/reviewed by the teams designated Covid coordinator outside of the field of play.
- Participants will be asked to arrive 10-15 minutes prior to practice to ensure a smooth transition to play.
PRACTICE and GAME DAY RULES:
- Return to Play: Teams are to minimize times at the field, limited to reservation times. We will schedule 15-30 minutes between scheduled practices or games to allow teams time to clear out and dugouts cleaned. Participants should arrive 10-15 minutes early to be screened by the Covid coordinator as discussed above. Designated entry points will be determined at each field. Upon practice or game completion, the team should exit through a designated exit point as quickly as possible, avoiding prolonged team meetings.
- Dugout considerations:
- all players will have a designated spot outside the dugout and field of play, to maintain 6 feet of distance. The Covid coordinator will help with this organization. Orange cones will be made available to keep the spots well marked.
- For batting teams, the next 3 batters in the line up will be allowed in the dugout, evenly spaced (at least 6 feet apart) in their anticipated batting order to maintain game flow
- For teams on defense: if there are 3 or less bench players, they may stay in the dugout at least 6 feet apart.
- We will work with the parks department to make adjustments to dugout configuration to allow easy entry/exit strategy.
- Home plate pre-game meeting: limited to one umpire and one coach per team, with appropriate 6 feet of social distancing.
- Snacks: No shared team snacks before, during or after the practice or game. Players should also not eat personal snacks while in the dugout or on the field of play.
- Masks: covering the mouth and nose will be required at all times unless the player is drinking water or eating a snack outside of the field of play. Medically approved disposable masks will be available in case of a missing or dysfunctional mask.
- Hygiene: frequent gel hand sanitizing is encouraged and will be available in each dugout. Each coach and player will be asked to gel before the game or practice start, the end of game or practice, after eating a snack and using the restroom.
- Equipment: no sharing of any equipment beyond the ball and appropriately sanitized team bats. Basically, no sharing of anything that is worn by the player (gloves, hats, helmets, etc). Parents are encouraged to provide personal playing equipment (bats, gloves, helmets) if possible.
- Catchers gear: teams should designate 2-3 catchers per game and have separate sanitized sets of catchers gear for each potential catcher. Each set of gear will be sanitized after each game.
- Bats: Players may either use 1) their own bat or 2) a designated team bat. They may not share their own bats with other players. In cases where a team bat must be shared, the bat shall be wiped with sani-wipes by a coach in between each use. After a batted in-play ball, the bat will be retrieved by the team's base coach on their side of the field and handed off to either the dugout parent or the Covid coordinator to return the bat to the players designated area outside of the field.
- Balls: during games, each team will keep a separate allotment of balls to be used while on defence. If possible, balls will be switched out every 2 innings. Umpires should minimize contact with the balls. Foul balls should be retrieved by players or coaches and wiped down prior to return to play.
- Umpire position: behind the mound or pitching circle for the primary umpire. The field umpire, if present, will maintain appropriate social distancing from fielders
- Parents and observers: we will follow updated state guidance on allowable group gatherings. A member of the board will be present for each game to help monitor the non-participant game observers for any gross infractions of current guidelines, so that the coaches and Covid coordinator may focus their attention on their players.
COVID EXPOSURE MANAGEMENT
Despite our best safety measures, there will likely be incidents of Covid exposure during the season. These may range from severe primary exposure, such as a child with active Covid that was at a game or practice, to a distant tertiary exposure. We will follow CDC and King County Department of Health guidelines with regards to testing and quarantining measures. These guidelines frequently change and will not be specified in this document at this time. Three members or the safety committee are medical doctors who have agreed to be a resource for these challenging situations. These members will determine the need for individual or team testing or quarantine measures. Dr. Chia Wang (206-412-3405). Dr. Mary King (206-898-2913), and Dr. Stephen King (206-854-2460). Parents will be encouraged to report any exposures to the coaches, Covid coordinator or the above listed physicians. HIPAA guidelines will be followed for participant confidentiality.