COVID-19 FAQ - DRAFT VERSION
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Westford Youth Soccer Association (WYSA) is a member of Massachusetts Youth Soccer Association. Generally, we follow their Return to Soccer Activities guidelines, however, our choices and schedules may be more restrictive based on our club's resources and ability to provide a safe environment for our players, coaches and families.
The answers to all FAQs apply to all age groups of all in-town and travel programs unless otherwise noted.
WYSA Return to Play Town Hall Recordings
August 6, 2020, PLAY RECORDING
July 28, 2020, PLAY RECORDING.
Mass Youth Soccer Association Resources
Commonwealth of Massachuestts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Reopening Phases and Related Information
Q: What phase of reopening are youth sports in?
A: As of July 6, 2020, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is in Phase 3, Step 1. (COVID-19 order no 43) with supporting documentation issued and amended on August 13, 2020 by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.
Youth Soccer is permitted to participate in Level 1, 2 and 3 activities with certain modifications based on the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) directives.
Q: Can reopening phases change?
A: Yes. The reopening phases may not always proceed linearly. Rather, a step backwards in phases may be required following continuous review of the ongoing situation and environment, for example in case of rapid growth in COVID-19 cases in the state of Massachusetts.
Q: In what sport risk category does soccer fall, in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts?
A: Moderate Risk. These sports and recreation activities involve intermittent contact but with protective equipment or mitigating measures in place that may reduce the likelihood of respiratory particle transmission between participants (e.g., wearing masks, modifying play). Examples: Baseball, softball, crew, sailing, track and field, running clubs, team swimming, volleyball, dance class, fencing, field hockey, no-contact lacrosse, soccer.
Q: What are the types of play in MA?
A: The following types of play are defined by level from least to greatest risk.
- Level 1: Individual or socially distanced group activities (no-contact workouts, aerobic conditioning, individual skill work, and drills)
- Level 2: Competitive Practices (Intra-team/group games, contact drills and scrimmages)
- Level 3: Competitions (Inter-team games, meets, matches, races, etc.)
- Level 4: Tournaments (Outdoor only) [NOT PERMITTED IN CURRENT PHASE]
Q: Do you have a COVID safety officer?
A: Yes. Christie DaRosa is WYSA's COVID-19 Safety Officer. She may be reached using the email link on the League Contacts page.
Physical Distancing Guidelines
Q: Do players have to social distance during games and practices?
A: Yes, as much as possible. Among other requirements, WYSA is expected to identify measures that can be implemented to significantly limit contact and increase physical distancing. Modify play and practice as much as possible to keep players spaced 6 feet apart for the majority of a game or practice.
Q: How many people can practice at once?
A: Grade K,1,2 - No more than 12 players+coaches in a practice group.
A: Grades 3+ - There can be no more than 25 people (players+coaches) in a practice group. (Think of this as "up to 25 players+coaches on the same team" in a practice group.)
Q: How many practice groups can I put on a field?
A: WYSA will follow these requirements as much as possible based on field size and orientation.
A full sized field may be used by more than one group, provided that adequate social distance and group separation can be maintained. The practice space used by a practice group must be a minimum of 20 feet away, from any other practice space, on all sides. Also the groups must adhere to the max number of people, see below.
In order to maintain lower numbers on soccer fields and surrounding areas for spectators the following field
configurations must be adhered to:
The actual lined area of a full sized 11 v 11 soccer field or an approximately equal area (110 x 60 yards) must be
limited to the following configurations for practices or games:
- One (1) Full Sized field to be used according the the 25 player/participant limit per , OR
- Two (2) small (9v9) or development (7v7) sized fields and each used according to the 25 player/ participant limit. Ideally two 9v9 fields should be 20 feet apart and two 7v7 fields should be set up diagonal to each other with the near corners at least 14 feet apart, with an option to have 1 development sized field inside 1 small sized field parallel to each other, OR
- Four (4) micro (4v4) sized fields and each used according to a lower 12 player/participant limit. The fields should be set up diagonal to each other with the near corners at least 14 feet apart.
Q: How many people can be on the same full sized soccer field?
A: No more than 50 people excluding players, coaches, referees, or facility/activity workers in the aggregate in, on, or surrounding any surface/playing area at one time. This is provided there is adequate space for all participants to maintain 6 feet of social distance at all times, recognizing that for some moderate risk sports intermittent contact may occur for players. For the purposes of Level 3 competitions, the surface/playing area is a full sized soccer field.
Q: Do parents and fans have to social distance?
A: Yes. Each player can be accompanied by 1 player/guardian/chaperone.
A family group must be at least 6 feet away from another family group while watching practice. All spectators must adhere to CDC and DPH assemblage and distance guidelines. Spectators, nonessential visitors, staff, volunteers and activities involving external groups or organizations should be limited as much as possible. Respect any field markings made indicating where spectators can stand.
Q: Who can come watch the game?
A: FROM MASS YOUTH SOCCER: During this current COVID-19 Pandemic state of emergency as proclaimed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Mass Youth Soccer requires all member organizations to limit the number of spectators at all sanctioned soccer activities to One (1) per player. Spectators are defined as a Parent, Legal Guardian or Chaperone.
Q: Is anyone excluded from attending practices or games?
A: We recommend that participants, organizers, spectators, volunteers, and facility employees in high risk categories should not participate or attend organized sport activities. List of high risk categories can be found here.
Masks / Face Coverings / and Protective Equipment
Q: Are players required to wear masks when they practice?
A: Grades K, 1, 2 - Masks are to be worn to all times:
- To and from the field
- On the sideline
- In practice
- During a game
A: Grades 3+: Masks to be worn to/from the field, and when not actively playing. Recommended to be worn at all times (but up to individual families).
- This assumes that there is a 6' buffer between practice grids and foosball grids.
- If no 6’ buffer, require masks at all times
Q: Do coaches have to wear masks?
A: Yes. Coaches, staff, team managers, are required to wear facial coverings and maintain social distancing of 6 feet from players coaches, staff, team managers, spectators, and other persons at all times.
Q: Do parents and spectators have to wear masks?
A: Yes. Spectators/Chaperones must wear masks at all times.
when moving about and when seated individually or as a family unit when not able to socially distance from others.
Q: What kind of face-coverings/masks can be used?
A: Players must wear face coverings that attach around the ears so as not to cause any injury if accidentally tugged or pulled on. No around the head or neck face coverings, such as face gaiters and bandanas, are permitted during play.
Moving to and from the field, players can wear any kind of face covering they want.
Practices, Games, Scrimmages, Skills Assessments
Q: Will WYSA teams be travelling to other towns to play soccer this fall?
A: No, not for the Fall 2020 season. WYSA has decided to convert all teams to "in town" teams.
Q: What is the practice and game schedule?
A: Grades K+1: Practices and games are scheduled back to back for each team. These events are scheduled at staggered times on Saturdays starting at 9am.
A: Grade 2:
A: Grades 3+: Practices will be held once a week. Games will be held Saturdays.
Q: What kinds of games will you hold?
A: Games will be "Human Foosball" format. Here is an example: https://youtu.be/5Ep-71I__Q8.
Q: Why did WYSA choose not to participate in travel soccer for the Fall 2020 season?
- Our #1 responsibility is to keep the kids safe.
- We feel Human Foosball is a game we can play that reduces risk to players of contracting COVID while still working on soccer skills like positioning, passing, clean first touch reception, seeing the field, passing and shooting.
- Provides a format of play we can continue even if the Commonwealth of Massachusetts needs to step back to level 2 social distancing.
Q: When do you expect things to get "back to normal?"
A: Mass Youth Soccer estimates Spring 2021 for Phase 4 and Play levels 1, 2, 3, 4.
Q: Do you know what travel soccer will look like this fall given the COVID risks?
A: As of July 24, 2020, the youth soccer games are permitted under Play Level 3 activities. WYSA has decided not to participate in MYSA travel games. All games will be played in Westford between Westford teams.
Q: Will WYSA teams be traveling to compete against other towns given the risk of playing against towns where the spread is perhaps more severe than Westford?
A: WYSA's traditional travel teams will not be travelling this fall. We will be playing in-town games against other Westford teams only.
Q: Will there be tryouts/skill assessments?
Q: How are the team rosters put together for the fall?
A: They will be based on coach’s evaluations from the previous season.
Q: When does the fall soccer season start?
A: September 19th and will run through November 7th. Games will be played on Columbus Day Weekend.
Q: Can we practice in July/August?
A: No, not yet. We don't run a summer program and we have no teams rostered or associated with any league or covered by any insurance. As of now, there should be no team practice, no informal scrimmages or practices. No players or coaches should be going to fields and conducting practices.
Q: Can my players share equipment such as goalie gloves, shirts, or pinnies?
A: No. No sharing of equipment is permitted. Players should have a dark shirt and a light shirt to play in rather than use pinnies.
Q: What is the protocol for cleaning equipment?
A: Coaches will clean equipment (cones, goals, balls etc.) with disinfectant before, during, and after training.
Q: Should the team help pick up all the cones, move nets, or gather equipment after practice?
A: No. The coach is to be the only one to handle cones, goals etc.
Q: What is required player equipment to participate?
A: See Player Responsibilities.
Spectators, Fields, Parking Lots
Q: What are the guidelines for spectators?
- Spectators must follow all Mass Youth Soccer Return to Soccer Activities Guidelines.
- FROM MASS YOUTH SOCCER: During this current COVID-19 Pandemic state of emergency as proclaimed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Mass Youth Soccer requires all member organizations to limit the number of spectators at all sanctioned soccer activities to One (1) per player. Spectators are defined as a Parent, Legal Guardian or Chaperone.
- Chaperone: Any person,18 years of age or older, designated by the Parent or Legal Guardian to be with the child while attending sanctioned soccer activities.
- Exceptions: Any Spectator who is responsible for other minors and is not able to have them cared for by others is permitted to be in attendance as a spectator with such children with them at all times.
- Soccer Activities include but are not limited to, games (of all types), practices, training, and in-person meetings.
- Spectators must wear facial coverings and maintain six feet of social distance at all times.
- Spectators must come from a low risk state (please refer to https://www.mass.gov/guidance/guidance-fortravelers-
arriving-in-the-commonwealth-of-massachusetts for the most current list of low risk states )
This requirement reduces the risk of introducing COVID-19 into the training group by someone traveling from a different region.
Q: Will there be public sources of water at the fields?
A: No. There are no bubblers, fountains, or bottle-fillers at the fields.
Q: What is the parking lot protocol?
A: Leave promptly after a practice or game. Do not linger in the parking lot. The games will be spaced by 20 minutes so that the previous group can leave the field.
Q: Will there be trash bins at the fields?
A: No. Westford fields are carry-in, carry-out. All waste should be carried out. Nothing should be picked up by anybody other than the originator of the waste.
Coach Responsibilities and Information
Q: What are the special COVID duties of the coach?
- Listen to the August 6 recorded meeting or view the slides from Christie daRosa.
- STAY POSITIVE – Players and parents will be looking to you to remain calm and supportive during this transition time.
- Set a good example:
- Wear a face covering and abide by the physical/social distance requirements from players and parents at all times.
- Practice and encourage proper hygiene. Use alcohol based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol). Cover coughs and sneezes with tissues or sleeves, do not use your hands. Do not touch your face (eyes, nose, mouth with unwashed hands).
- Ensure the health and safety of all athletes.
- Follow all state and local health protocols.
- Understand that there may be parents/guardians who may not be ready to have their child return to activities at this time.
- Ensure athletes arrive dressed for practice and leave immediately after practice. No recreational play, or loitering is allowed.
- Ensure all athletes have their individual equipment. (Ball, water bottle, GK Gloves etc.)
- Ensure all athletes have a mask to wear when they are not practicing and to wear to and from the field. It must be a face covering which attaches around the ears so as not to cause any injury if accidentally tugged or pulled on. No around the head or neck face coverings permitted during play.
- Ensure player’s personal belongings (bags, coats, sweatshirts) remain in their personal space and are kept physically distanced from the belongings of others. Do not allow sharing of personal items.
- Ask players to wear their reversible jerseys to games or in-town shirt to games and practices.
- Do not allow shared team snacks. No use of public water bubblers, fountains or bottle fillers if present on site. Participants and spectators should only drink from their own containers.
Q: What COVID-related resources are available to coaches?
Q: What should a coach do before practice?
A: When players arrive, ask each athlete if they are experiencing any signs or symptoms of COVID-19. If the athlete has any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 they should be sent home and instructed to contact their healthcare provider. They will not be allowed to return to training until they are cleared by a healthcare provider. A doctor’s note must be provided.
After that, follow the Player-checkins and Contact Tracing instructions to record attendance.
Q: Can we have a hand-shake line after practice?
A: No. No handshakes, fist or elbow bumps, or any other physical contact.
Q: What kind of practices can I run?
A: Mass Youth Soccer provides a list of age-appropriate Session Plans on its website. If you wish to run an socially distanced practices, there are also Physical Distancing Session Plans available for all age groups.
COVID Safter Officer Responsibilities
- Check players in for practice and games.
- Record player check-ins and contact tracing on WYSA web site.
- Upon arrival to training, coaches or staff should ask each athlete if they are experiencing any signs or symptoms of COVID-19. If the athlete has any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 they should be sent home and instructed to contact their healthcare provider. They will not be allowed to return to training until they are cleared by a healthcare provider. A doctor’s note must be provided.
Player Check-ins and Contact Tracing
It is important the you know who attended practice for contact tracing purposes. It is also important that no player practices when they are sick. Each team will greatly benefit from having a "COVID Coach" whose job it is to check players and coaches in and monitor the sidelines. Listen to the August 6 WYSA meeting or review the COVID slides.
Q: What is the player check-in protocol?
- The COVID coach must record who came to practice. (This includes which coaches attended.) Have a clip board with the practice dates and player names, use a smart-phone app, or record in some way that a player was at practice. It is important to know who attended in case you need to contact them later.
- Upon arrival, inquire how athletes are feeling, send them home if you believe they are acting or look ill. Upon arrival to training, coaches or staff should ask each athlete if they are experiencing any signs or symptoms of COVID-19. If the athlete has any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 they should be sent home and instructed to contact their healthcare provider.
They will not be allowed to return to training until they are cleared by a healthcare provider. A doctor’s note must be provided.
Q: Where does the COVID Coach record this information permanently?
A: Make the WYSA web site your single source of truth:
- After practice, sign in to the WYSA site - http://www.leagueathletics.com/?org=westfordyouthsoccer.com
- Click Teams > Choose a Team and navigate to your team.
- Click Schedule.
- Click Show All Events. This view will show you every event in the calendar. This includes, practices, games, holidays, coach training events, everything. Practices that you entered for your team will have a “thumbs up” box in the actions column. For example:
5. Click the thumbs up button and indicate which players and coaches attended (thumbs-up) and which players and coaches didn’t attend (thumbs-down). When you’re finished you should have everyone on your team in the Attending or Not Attending columns:
Note: When players RSVP to practice reminders, this is the same table that records those RSVPs. Edit the entries to match the attendance records you took on the field; they may be different than what is in the table.
Parent Responsibilities and Information
Q: What are the COVID responsibilities of the parents?
Q: Can we bring a team snack?
A: No. All the players should bring their own snack if they want one.
Q: What if I don’t want my child to play? Will they be penalized in the next season?
A: No. Kids are not required to play. Kids will not be penalized for skipping a season.
Player Responsibilities and Information
Q: What are the health requirements for participants (players, coaches, and assistants) and spectators to attend practices?
A: Follow these rules:
- No signs or symptoms of COVID-19 in the past 14 days and you have not been exposed to someone that has been ill within 14 days.
- Take temperature daily. The average normal body temperature is generally accepted as 98.6°F (37°C). Some studies have shown that the “normal” body temperature can have a wide range, from 97°F (36.1°C) to 99°F (37.2°C). A temperature over 100.4°F (38°C) most often means you have a fever caused by an infection or illness.
- Expect your COVID Safety Coach to ask you if you are experiencing any signs or symptoms of COVID-19. If you have any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 you should not attend practice or expect to be sent home and instructed to contact your healthcare provider. You will not be allowed to return to training until you are cleared by a healthcare provider. A doctor’s note must be provided.
- Practice and encourage proper hygiene. Use alcohol based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol). Cover coughs and sneezes with tissues or sleeves, do not use your hands. Do not touch your face (eyes, nose, mouth with unwashed hands).
Have your own hand sanitizer with you.
- Wear a face covering as appropriate for your age group. See Masks / Face Coverings / Protective equipment.
- Practice physical distancing on the sidelines. When sitting on the sidelines you should be 6’ from the next player. Your belongings should remain in your space when not in use.
- Bring your own equipment. Do not touch anyone else’s equipment.
- Bring your own water bottle and snack. Do not touch anyone else’s belongings as sharing will not be permitted.
- No group celebrations, hugs, handshakes, fist bumps, etc.
- Remember your equipment for every game and practice:
- Participants should use their own equipment and should sanitize their equipment after every training session.
Q: What should players bring with them to practices?
Each participant will be required to have their own water bottle, towel, and personal hygiene products (hand sanitizer, facial tissues, face coverings).
Tissues, wipes, or disposable gloves must be properly disposed in the appropriate receptacles.
Q: When should players arrive on the field for practice?
A: As directed by the coach. No more than 15 minutes before game time.
Q: Can I hang out after practice?
A: No. Players should leave practice as soon as it is over and families should not linger in the parking lots after practice.
Q: Will there be player assessments before fall teams are created?
What happens if there is a case of COVID?
Q: What happens if there is a case of COVID on my team?
- Affected individual or parent should contact the President and COVID-19 Safety Office who then contacts local DPH.
- Department of Public Health will provide the individual with instructions on what to do.
- All Parties who have had close contact with the individual should be notified using the COVID diagnosis notification form, found in the resource section of the Return to Soccer Activies page of the MA youth Soccer website. Individuals’ names will not be disclosed.
- All Information will be kept confidential.
- A close contact is someone with whom you have been within 6 feet of for at least 10-15 minutes while symptomatic or within 48 hours before symptom onset. A close contact can also be someone who had direct contact with the droplets of a COVID-19 case (e.g. being coughed on) while not wearing mask or face coverings.
- All teams and individuals that have come in close tonics with the individual will have soccer actives suspended for 14 days.
What are WYSA's COVID-Related Responsibilities?
These are WYSA's responsibilities as an activity organizer:
- Identify measures that can be implemented to significantly limit contact and increase physical distancing. Modify play and practice as much as possible to keep players spaced 6 feet apart for the majority of a game or practice.
- Eliminate Deliberate Contact: Deliberate close contact must be eliminated. Deliberate close contact includes but is not limited to collisions, tackling, body checking, blocking
- Minimize Intermittent Contact: Game Situations that result in intermittent close physical or face-to-face contact must be modified or eliminated, including, restarts, throw-ins, scrums for the ball or similar activities.
- Those activities and sports that cannot modify play as outlined above cannot engage in LEVEL 3 play but may be able to participate in Level 2 play If modifications are incorporated
- Shorten activities, practices and game play or perform the activity with fewer participants to the extent possible.
- Modify the activity or sport to reduce the sharing of equipment or to allow for cleaning of shared equipment between participants.
- Incorporate protective equipment in a safe manner to further reduce the spread of respiratory particles.