Kids and COVID-19: Participating in Youth Sports or Activities

Returning back to school this year looks different for parents and students, and the same is likely true for returning to youth sports activities. As some of these activities resume with the new school year, it is important for both parents and children to understand the risks of these activities and to know how to stay safe while participating during a pandemic. 

For both parents and children, making the decision to participate in youth sports or group activities can be an especially difficult one. Whenever possible, opt for online or hybrid (online/in-person) options; however, these are not always available. When deciding whether or not to participate, it may be helpful to evaluate how risky the activity is, visit this link for information on that topic

In addition to considering the components of an infection, you may use the questions below to help make your decision:

Do some sports or activities have higher COVID-19 risks than others? 

The answer is yes! There are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to the risk of COVID-19:

  • Is the activity or sport taking place outside?
    • Sports and activities that take place outside like golf, football, cross country or track and field, tennis, horseback-riding, and soccer are less risky than other activities that take place inside or in areas with poor ventilation.
  • Is there appropriate physical distancing between the players or participants?
    • Sports or activities that maintain physical distancing are safer than those that do not.
  • Is the activity or sport operating at a reduced capacity?
    • Limiting the number of participants and those attending a sport or activity can help to lessen the risk of COVID-19 so that appropriate safety measures (e.g., physical distancing) can be taken. Parents and supporters should not congregate in lobbies, waiting areas or on the sidelines.
    • For competitions and tournaments check with your organization before inviting additional attendees to confirm spectators will be allowed. If additional viewers are allowed, be sure to follow physical distancing guidelines and wear a cloth face covering.
  • Are face coverings required for participants and attendees?
    • Cloth face coverings have been shown to drastically reduce the spread of COVID-19. Consider requiring face coverings if physical distancing cannot be maintained during an activity.
  • Are hand hygiene stations readily available?
    • Practicing regular, thorough hand washing or hand sanitizing is key to reducing the spread of COVID-19. It is important for activities or sports to have increased handwashing stations or hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol. 
  • Are vaccinations required for participants?
    • As we enter the 2020-2021 flu season, everyone over the age of 6 months should receive a flu shot. 
  • Are you being asked to carpool or travel?
    • It is important to avoid carpooling with members outside of the household 
    • Traveling for a sport or activity – especially if travelling occurs with a group (in busses, cars, by plane, etc.), is considered high risk for COVID-19. Whenever possible, avoid travelling for a sport or activity. If you must travel, opt to take your own vehicle or mode of transportation so that only members of the same household are travelling in the same vehicle.
  • What is the organization’s policy on known or suspected COVID-19 cases?
    • Knowing this information ahead of time will allow you to be prepared in the event there is a known or suspected COVID-19 case.
Play Safe During COVID-19 Youth Sports Risk
Play Safe During COVID-19 Youth Sports Risk

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