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Return to Play

West Ranch High School Athletics “Return to Play” Safety Plan
 
Introduction:
West Ranch High School return to play safety plan has been developed to prioritize the health and safety for all students, coaches, and their families. These Covid-19 policies and procedures content were created by following the following guidance documents: California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Guidance for Outdoor and Indoor Youth and Recreational Adult Sports, Los Angeles County Department of Health, and the CIF Southern Section. This return to play protocol for athletics is designed to provide a guidance towards resocialization of student-athletes in athletics and physical activities within a safe and controlled environment. Decisions shall also continue to be based on the full compliance with state and local health orders and regulations from Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

The purpose of this Safety Plan is to provide detailed content for the West Ranch High School Athletics Return to Play protocols, processes, and procedures in how the Athletics department will operate safely over the next several months. Strict adherence to the protocols in this document and in conjunction with the general West Ranch High School COVID-19 Safety Plan and West Ranch UHSD COVID-19 Prevention Plan are created for the health and well-being of student-athletes, coaches, other employees, and officials.

Key Elements of Student and Staff Safety
Education:
Students-athletes and staff will go through a health and safety training with updated protocols on an ongoing process. Student-athletes will be provided with the most up to date information regarding health, safety, transmission, and general best practices. Student-athletes will also be educated about the school’s COVID-19 testing program.

Informed Consent:
Due to the nature and risk of transmission of COVID-19 while participating in Outdoor High- Contact and Moderate-Contact sports, these teams must implement and strictly adhere to an informed consent process for participants and their parents/guardians. Informed consent must provide information regarding this risk to all adult participants and all parents/guardians of minors participating in such sports. Adult participants and parents/guardians of minors must affirm their understanding and acknowledgement of the risks by signing a consent form.

Daily Screening:
Entry Screening is conducted, in compliance with the LACDPH Employee Screening guidance, before participants, coaches, and support staff may participate in sports activities each day. Checks must include a check-in concerning fever, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing and fever or chills, and whether the person is currently under isolation or quarantine orders.

These checks will be done through CrisisGo the on-line check in system.

● If the person has no symptoms, is not currently under isolation or quarantine orders, and no contact to a known or suspected COVID-19 case in the last 14 days, they can be cleared to participate for that day.

● If the person has had close contact with a known COVID-19 case in the last 14 days or is currently under quarantine orders, they must be sent home immediately and asked to quarantine at home. Provide Revised 3/20/2021 Page 1 of 6
West Ranch High School Athletics “Return to Play” Safety Plan them with the quarantine instructions found at ph.lacounty.gov/covidquarantine.

● If the person is showing any of the symptoms noted above or is currently under isolation orders, they must be sent home immediately and asked to isolate at home. Provide them with the isolation instructions found at ph.lacounty.gov/covidisolation.

● Refer to the DPH guidance on Screening and Exposure Decision Pathways for Symptomatic Persons and Contacts of a Potentially Infected Persons at Educational Institutions for determining the next steps for persons who have not been tested for COVID-19 but screen positive for symptoms during entry screening and their contacts.

Face Coverings:
All participants are required to wear an appropriate face mask that covers the nose and the mouth at all times during practice, conditioning, play and competition, even during heavy exertion as tolerated to protect the safety of all participants. Exceptions to wearing a face mask are when the face mask may become a hazard, when in the water, while eating/drinking, or when engaging in solo physical exertion (such as jogging by oneself, alone). Participants must wear a face mask at all times when not engaged in practice, conditioning, or in play, including when on the sidelines during competitions. This applies to all adults and to children 2 years of age and older. Masks with one way valves must not be used. Only individuals who have been instructed not to wear a mask by their medical provider due to a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability that prevents wearing a mask are exempt from wearing one. Participants should take a break from exercise and/or remove their face mask if any difficulty breathing is noted and should change their mask or mask if it becomes wet and sticks to the participant’s face and obstructs breathing. Participants must remain physically distanced from others at any time their face mask is temporarily removed. Masks that restrict airflow under heavy exertion (such as N-95 masks) are not advised for exercise.

Hygiene:
Hand sanitizers are present and available as it is required for student-athletes, coaches, umpires/referees to practice good hygiene. Hand sanitizer is accessible in the outdoor field area before and after all activities. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains 60-95% alcohol content. Student-athletes should not share water bottles, uniforms, towels, or snacks and should not spit (saliva, sunflower seeds, etc.). High-fives, handshakes, or hugs are strongly discouraged. To minimize accidental sharing of water, student-athletes must keep their water bottles in their own bag when not in use. A no-touch device water jug will be available as needed.
 
Do not touch or share anyone else’s equipment. Student-athletes should bring their own equipment to training and label it as their own. Practice social distancing and place bags and other equipment in specified areas at least 6 feet apart from teammates’ equipment during sessions. When possible, student-athletes should store their equipment in their bag or backpack when not in use.

Cleaning:
Clean high touch surfaces and disinfect shared equipment before and after each use will continue as with outdoor restrooms are cleaned and disinfected regularly. Current CDC guidance for cleaning and disinfection for COVID-19 states that disinfectants should be registered by the EPA for use against the COVID-19.

Disinfection and Sanitization:

● Indoor athletic facilities will be regularly cleaned and sanitized and all equipment will be disinfected and sanitized before and after practice and training sessions.

● Spray bottles and disposable wipes will be in close proximity to all workout stations.

● All sports balls and equipment used during the sport specific skill training will be sanitized after each session.

● Hand sanitizer will be provided in multiple locations as well as hand washing stations (indoor and outdoor). Students and staff will use hand sanitizer before, during, and after each workout session.

● Students are required to wash hands or sanitize hands after exiting the outdoor restroom.

Physical participation:
All students and staff that are not actively engaged in an activity that may require closer contact will maintain a physical distance of 6 feet to the extent possible.

Only coaches, support staff, and student-athletes are allowed on and around the practice facilities. Observers are permitted for competitions for age appropriate supervision. Observers must be limited to immediate household members. Observers must wear a mask at all times and must maintain a 6-foot physical distance from non household members. Observers should refrain from shouting, singing, or chanting as these activities increase the volume and spread of respiratory droplets. Consider offering video streaming of games so that they can be watched “live” from home.

Indoor Activities:
Except for the activities listed in the LACDPH Reopening Protocol for Youth and Adult Recreational Sports Leagues, all other indoor activities are not permitted at this time if team activities include competition. Transmission is more likely to occur in indoor settings. This includes both sports activities among teams that are not following the additional requirements above as well as associated indoor activities such as team dinners or film study.

Use of locker rooms:
At this time, locker rooms are not to be used by student-athletes or teams.

Ventilation:
Ventilation is important to have good indoor air quality. The school will ensure that ventilation systems operate properly and will increase air circulation and ventilation as much as possible by opening windows and doors. Offer more outside time, open windows often and adjust mechanical ventilation systems to bring in as much outside air as possible. To the extent possible, the school will improve air filtration in all active spaces. Use of fans for cooling is acceptable. In indoor spaces, fans should only be used when windows or doors are open to the outdoors in order to circulate indoor and outdoor air. Fans should be directed to blow in a direction that pushes air away from other people that may be in the space.

Graduated Return to Play post-COVID-19 infection:
Once an individual has completed the isolation period and is cleared to return to physical activity by a physician, another visit with the physician for a final clearance is not required unless concerning pulmonary and/or cardiac signs and symptoms develop once physical activity resumes. The AAP recommends not returning to sports/physical activity until the individual can perform normal activities of daily living and displays no concerning signs/symptoms.
 
People recovering from COVID-19 should not resume exercise until cleared by a physician and will have different paths to return to sports based both on the severity of their illness and their underlying health. Student-athletes and parents should consider the CIF Recommended Evaluation & Cardiac Testing for COVID-19 (+) Athletes Returning to Education-Based Athletics. A graduated return-to-play/exercise protocol, which introduces and increases physical activity in a stepwise fashion may be warranted and recommended once an athlete has been cleared by a physician. See the “What to do if a participant had COVID-19 or has it during the season?” in the Academy of Pediatrics Interim Guidance on Return to Sports and Graduated return to play guidance following COVID-19 infection for additional guidance.

Routine Testing Protocols
West Ranch High School will be conducting in-house periodic (PCR) testing through the CPDH/West Ranch Branch Lab (VBL) using the Color platform for test kit, test processing, and test management. The testing will be performed to meet or exceed the requirements of the CDPH and LACDPH testing requirements for Youth Sports. Accordingly, West Ranch High School will provide routine COVID-19 testing for student-athletes as well as faculty and support staff for the following programs: cheerleading, dance, basketball, volleyball, wrestling.

When the adjusted case rate for the County exceeds 7 cases per 100,000 population, a weekly COVID-19 testing program (antigen or PCR testing) is required for football teams and coaches as these are high contact sports that are likely to be played unmasked, with close, face to face contact exceeding 15 minutes. If competing, test results must be made available and reviewed by the coaches within 24 hours of play. If a youth participant is being tested on a weekly basis, then that weekly testing is sufficient and meets the testing requirements for that week and any competitions that occur during that week.

Indoor sports teams (basketball, volleyball, dance, cheerleading, and wrestling) that are otherwise not permitted to resume activities indoors may resume indoor activities including indoor physical conditioning, skill-building, training, contact practice and competition if the team adheres to the following additional requirements:

● Participants, coaches, and support staff must be tested regularly. This includes baseline testing and ongoing screening testing. Based on current evidence and standards, both daily antigen testing, and periodic PCR testing are acceptable methods for both baseline and ongoing screening testing.

● For high-risk contact sports (basketball, volleyball, and wrestling), competition between teams is permitted only if the team can provide COVID-19 testing and results of all athletes and support staff within 48 hours of each competition.

If the COVID-19 test result is indeterminate or positive, the person must be sent home immediately to isolate. Provide them with the isolation instructions found at ph.lacounty.gov/covidisolation.

DPH guidance on Screening and Exposure Decision Pathways for Symptomatic Persons and Contacts of a Potentially Infected Persons at Educational Institutions for determining the next steps for persons who have tested positive during routine testing.

In all situations, individuals must immediately notify the head coach, athletic director, and athletic trainer if they have come in contact or have been exposed to COVID-19.

Of note, CDC guidance provides that individuals who previously tested positive for COVID-19 do not need to quarantine or get tested again for up to three months (for example, even after a high-risk exposure) as long as they do not develop symptoms again. However, if such individuals develop symptoms consistent with COVID-19, they require reevaluation and may need to be tested again if there is no other cause identified for their symptoms.

Cohorting
Instructors/Head Coaches may break their class(es) up into cohorts. The size of these cohorts will be based on state and county guidance as well as facility capacity. These cohorts of the conditioning classes for on-campus activities should maintain a physical distance of 6 feet and wear a face covering to the extent required. It is understood that there are some instances within the course of practice and competition in which physical distancing and face covering is not possible, but those instances will be limited to a minimum.

Records and contact tracing should be kept with a roster of every athlete, staff and volunteer present at each practice, training session, and contest. This is to assist with contact tracing in the event of a possible exposure.

Transportation Policies

● Bus/van travel by teams may pose a higher risk of transmission. If teams travel by bus/vans, observe the following safety measures:

 ○ A maximum of 1 student or adult participant per bus seat.
 ○ Face masks required at all times.
 ○ Use of alternating rows.
 ○ Open windows for the full duration of the trip unless not feasible..

● Travel via private car must be limited to only those within the immediate household.

Game Officials Considerations
Officials and referees may operate in proximity to student-athletes and school personnel during or as part of competitions. As a result, this may create risk for these individuals and athletics departments. Game officials will be required to follow protocol of appropriate distancing and masking practices. They must also complete the visitor entry screening upon arrival at the facility.

COVID-19 Game Modifications Considerations

1. Team Benches - Team areas may be expanded to promote social distancing. All schools are to encourage  bench personnel to observe social distancing of 6 feet. All sideline personnel and players shall wear face coverings.

2. Student-athletes, coaches, and staff that are participating in the competition are allowed on or near the sidelines or benches at all times.

3. Adult Observers are permitted for competitions for the strict purpose of age-appropriate supervision. Observers must be limited to immediate household members. Observers must wear a mask at all times and must maintain a 6-foot physical distance from non-household members. Observers should refrain from shouting, singing, or chanting as these activities increase the volume and spread of respiratory droplets.
 a. Video streaming of games will be offered to be watched “live” from home.

4. Sports competitions held indoors must strictly limit the number of observers to 15% of venue capacity based on applicable building or fire code occupancy.

5. Any taping will be done by the opposing team’s athletic trainer before arrival to the game site.

6. Locker rooms are not recommended at this time.

7. Limit meetings between officials, coaches, and captains and ensure physical distancing and face covering is observed.

8. Suspend handshakes prior to and following the pregame conference.

9. Maintain social distancing of 6 feet between the substitute(s), officials and/or teammate(s) by extending the substitution area in front of the scorer’s table. Limit contact between players when substituting.

10. Scorer’s Table 
 a. Limited to essential personnel which includes home team scorekeeper and statistician with a recommended   distance of 6 feet between individuals.
 b. Visiting team personnel (scorer, statisticians, etc.) are not deemed essential personnel and will need to find an  alternative location.
 c. If a team member is penalized, it is recommended to mark a location of where the individual is to stand that is a  minimum of 6 feet from the officials’ table.
 d. Place the scorer's table sufficiently away from the sideline to allow for additional space for
substitutes.