Play ball! California eases outdoor sports rules for schools, youth leagues.
The California Department of Public Health gave updated guidance for youth sports Friday that will be received with cheers from many communities around the state that have been clamoring to get kids back on the field. In the announcement, the state said all outdoor sports may be played in counties that have COVID-19 case rates at or below 14 per 100,000.
The guidance applies to all organized youth and adult sports, including school and community-sponsored programs, and privately organized clubs and leagues. This means high-contact sports such as water polo, rugby and football, which previously would not have been allowed until the counties were in the moderate orange tier of the state's reopening plan, now have the go-ahead to play.
"Youth sports are important to our children's physical and mental health, and our public health approach has worked to balance those benefits against COVID-19 risks," said Dr. Tomás Aragón, CDPH director and state public health officer, in the announcement. "With case rates and hospitalizations declining across California, we are allowing outdoor competition to resume, with modifications and steps to reduce risk, in counties where case rates are lower."
Some of these modifications include a requirement of weekly testing "for football, rugby and water polo participants age 13 and over in counties with a case rate between 7 and 14 per 100,000. Weekly testing, either antigen or PCR, is required for all participants and coaches in these sports."
The announcement was unclear whether other outdoor sports in the high-contact category, such as soccer, lacrosse and volleyball, would require similar testing procedures. Sports in the moderate-contact category, such as baseball, cheerleading and softball, can be played in qualifying counties without the testing requirement.
For more details, read the complete CDPH announcement.