These Youth Sports Guidelines (“guidelines”) are based in part, on recommendations made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) and include:
Incorporating these recommendations, these guidelines:
These guidelines are updated and effective February 17, 2021 In accordance with the St. Louis County Department of Public Health’s (“DPH”)Third Amended Safer At Home Order effective February 11, 2021, these guidelines may be replaced or modified by DPH based on new scientific information and local information including the trajectory of influenza-like illnesses, cases of COVID-19, and any other information deemed relevant to protect public health in St. Louis County.
The information regarding SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing the COVID-19 illness, is changing rapidly. As a result, guidance given nationally and in Saint Louis County is subject to change. The guidelines provided in this document will be reviewed and updated based on new scientific information and local circumstances, and, therefore, may change periodically.
Saint Louis County continues to balance the importance of activity for children with the reality of the continued community spread of COVID-19 in St. Louis County. These guidelines are necessary to attempt to limit the transmission of COVID-19 as students engage in sporting activities so as not to impede the progress that has been made to return students to the classroom. These Guidelines are based on engagement with external stakeholders, including school athletic directors, pediatricians, and other sport’s advocates. This partnership’s goal is to outline best practices by all who sponsor and support youth sports in Saint Louis County.
According to the CDC, the risk of COVID-19 spread increases in youth sports settings is as follows:
These guidelines incorporate this CDC risk assessment.
In accordance with the CDC’s risk assessments in youth sports setting, sports are classified based on the level of contact between players, as low frequency of contact, moderate frequency of contact or high frequency of contact.
For sports or activities not included in the above categories that are similar in nature to such other sports or activities, please apply the category most closely associated with the sport or activity. If there is any question regarding the categorization of an activity, please contact the DPH to determine which category applies.
The restrictions and requirements of these guidelines apply to all individuals age 18 or younger.
The restrictions and requirements of these guidelines apply to school sponsored and affiliated sports teams and leagues as well as non-school sponsored and affiliated sports teams.
Competitions are not limited to the St. Louis area/region as along as any team from outside of St. Louis County that plays in St. Louis County follows these guidelines..
“Spectators” include parents, guardians, other family members, and anyone else not participating, coaching or officiating in a practice or sporting event.
Due to ongoing widespread community transmission of COVID-19, it is recommended that persons who are not essential for athletic activity operations including Spectators, volunteers, parents/guardians, or non-essential visitors, not be allowed. At most, each athlete shall be allowed two Spectators to observe gameplay; however, they must comply with St. Louis County’s face covering and social/physical distancing requirements. The athletic leaders are responsible for limiting and controlling the number of Spectators to enforce the social distancing restrictions.
Guidelines for moderate frequency of contact sports for players of all ages:
Guidelines for low frequency of contact sports for players of all ages:
Tournaments, performances, competitions, meets, invitationals and showcases are permitted as long as they are conducted as if they are a single competition, including:
Every coach, athlete and official MUST be screened on a daily basis before they enter the field, campus or facility where the sporting activity is designated to occur. They must wear a face mask for the duration of the health screening unless masking is not possible due to a medical condition.
Spectators may also be subject to screening and temperature checks.
A consistent person should be designated to provide healthcare screenings. This person must wear a face mask and gloves when screening others.
The screening process is as follows:
Positive Screening – If an athlete, coach, official or Spectator answers “yes” to any of the screening questions, he or she should stay home and, in any event, MUST not enter the field, campus or facility where the sporting activity is designated to occur and will be sent home immediately and told to notify his or her health care provider. If an athlete’s parents, guardians, or other transportation provider are not present, the athlete must be escorted to a designated isolation room or an area away from others, and the athlete MUST wear a mask or face covering at all times.
Individuals who have had a significant exposure (defined as direct contact or prolonged exposure within 6 feet) to a positive COVID-19 individual MUST quarantine for a minimum of 14 days from the last date of exposure to the positive COVID-19 individual. If the exposed individual has a negative SARS-Cov 2 test, they still must quarantine for 14 days. If the exposed individual develops symptoms during these 14 days, testing for SARS Cov-2 should occur.
The school, coach, or other official, as applicable, is required to contact the St. Louis County Department of Public Health to notify the Department of the positive screening or knowledge of an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 or is a close contact of a person who has tested positive for COVID-19. The notifying individual must provide information regarding all known contacts of the positive-screened individual. To aid in this contact tracing, all schools, coaches, and other officials conducting the practice or competition must keep a detailed account of all the participants at each practice or competition.
If the individual has health-related questions, the individual must consult with the individual’s own health care provider.
Individuals returning to sports after a positive COVID-19 diagnosis MUST consult with both their own health care provider and the Department of Public Health of the county in which they reside. Only the St. Louis County Department of Public Health can release a St. Louis County resident from quarantine or isolation, unless an emergency policy is in place allowing others to do so.
Certain individual athletes on a team may be at higher risk for severe illness than other athletes, such as athletes who have asthma, diabetes, or other health problems. Those individuals with underlying conditions may be more likely to have severe COVID-19 illness. Parents, guardians, and coaches should give special consideration to protecting these athletes.
Athletes, coaches, parents, and guardians should consider delaying the athlete’s participation in sports and athletic activities if the athlete has any of the following conditions:
Parents or guardians who have children with these risk factors should consider consulting with their children’s healthcare provider about their children’s participation in sports since limited data exist and, in many cases (well-controlled diabetic or asthmatic) an increased risk is likely not present. Coaches should exercise caution in attending youth sport activities if they have any of the above-identified conditions.
Organizations, teams, and coaches must understand the importance of enforcing these restrictions and requirements to enable children to continue to participate in sporting activities. Under DPH Orders, Saint Louis County can require an organization or team to cease otherwise permitted activities if the restrictions and requirements are not being followed. In addition to the expectation that organizations, teams, and coaches will enforce the requirements set forth in these guidelines, all other enforcement actions, including Department of Public Health ordered closure, civil action, and criminal action, remain available to enforce these guidelines.
It is imperative that parents and guardians, as well as those who are organizing and coaching the children/athletes, emphasize the need to follow these guidelines in order to reduce community transmission of the virus and allow additional permitted activities in the future, including competitive play. This means that ancillary gatherings and meetings of parents and athletes should not be sanctioned or sponsored.
Organizations, teams, coaches, and parents MUST, in accordance with DPH orders, cooperate and assist in contact tracing, including maintaining a list of players, Spectators and others attending practices and events.