L.A. County releases guidelines for youth sports

Signal file photo Canyon senior Sasha Thomas-Oakley spikes the ball in a league matchup with Valencia at Canyon High School earlier this year. The William S. Hart Union High School District is devising plans for a return of high school sports.

Following the release of state guidelines, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials have released their own guidelines regarding youth sports. 

The county protocols require social distancing at all times, appropriate face coverings, screenings for athletes and coaches, and avoiding unnecessary contact, such as high-fives handshakes, fist bumps, etc.

County guidelines ask players to bring their own equipment but players are allowed to toss a ball, kick a ball or throw a Frisbee between one another, as long as the item being used in the “skill-building exercise” remains between only two people. Group activity is not permitted, according to health officials, and any shared equipment must be disinfected between use. 

The new guidelines will affect all outdoor organized sports, from leagues to clubs to all school-run sports for TK-12 students. All adult sports leagues must remain closed, according to officials. 

In order to ensure adherence to the guidelines, health officials have said that at all times, athletes and coaches must be 6 feet apart at all times, and 8 feet apart during heavy physical exertion. 

Masks must be worn at all times except while swimming, showering, eating/drinking or engaging in a solo exercise, officials said. All indoor activities, such as indoor basketball, cheerleading, volleyball, etc., as well as any form of tournaments, events or competitions between opposing teams, are not allowed.

In the event that three or more cases are identified among the members of a youth sports team within a span of 14 days, the coach or league should report this outbreak to the Department of Public Health at 888-397-3993 or 213-240-7821.

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