COVID Guidelines for Youth Sports Vary Across U.S. | Athletic Business

COVID Guidelines for Youth Sports Vary Across U.S.

As the nation emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, youth athletics across the country are adjusting in very different ways as they aim to get back to the field and court.

In St. Louis, virus testing is no longer required for youth sports.

According to the City of St. Louis’ website, the city has rescinded the COVID-19 Health Commissioner’s Orders. Managers of youth sports programs and league officials are no longer required to implement COVID-19 testing in their athletic programs. Although, testing is no longer required, the City of St. Louis Department of Health is encouraging youth athletic program administrators to continue the practice to protect the health of those young people and instructors who have not been vaccinated due to personal choice and others not yet eligible to receive a vaccination. 

“It’s important that sports organizers, parents, and school athletic administrators remember that athletes remain at increased risk of spreading COVID-19 when participating in close-contact or indoor sports, says Dr. Fredrick Echols acting director of health for the City of St. Louis. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends not engaging in close contact sports with those you do not live with. If you choose not to follow this recommendation the CDC recommends wearing a face covering, playing outdoors, staying at least 6 feet from others, avoiding crowds, and if you are eligible - getting vaccinated.” 

Meanwhile, in Oregon, youth participants will still have to wear masks during indoor competition unless they are fully vaccinated.

The Oregon School Activities Association announced late Wednesday that it received clarification from the Oregon Health Authority on how to handle masking for athletic events.

"These provisions are optional for the venue operators," the press release from the OSAA states. "School districts, charter schools, and private schools may still choose to require face coverings at these events."

OHA guidance deems a "fully-vaccinated" individual as someone who is 14 days past receiving full vaccination — two shots of either Pfizer or Moderna, or one shot of Johnson & Johnson. 

Student-athletes and spectators will still need to prove they’ve been vaccinated to go maskless. 

Vaccination verification is defined as "documentation provided by a tribal, federal, state or local government, or a health care provider, that includes an individual’s name, date of birth, type of COVID-19 vaccination given, date or dates given, depending on whether it is a one-dose or two-dose vaccine, and the name/location of the health care provider or site where the vaccine was administered," according to the press release. 

OSAA executive director Peter Weber said each school will make its own decision on how they handle vaccinations. 

"I'm not sure every school is going to check the status. They may keep everyone masked," Weber told the East Oregonian.

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