Mt. Lebanon Flag Football Association Health and Safety Plan Updated July 27, 2020
We at the Mt. Lebanon Flag Football Association (MLFFA) are striving to bring flag football to our community and provide a safe, competitive environment. We are seeking the cooperation of the athletes, parents, coaches and all involved as we move forward to plan and sponsor the 2020 season in this unique time of the COVID-19 virus.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused club sports to reevaluate the processes they use to implement their program. These sporting clubs are making changes to their processes to provide a safe environment in which to hold sporting activities. The COVID-19 virus is a highly contagious illness that attacks the upper respiratory system. It has the potential to cause serious illness with very negative outcomes in people of all genders and ages and in all communities. Our goal is to focus on mitigating the risk of the COVID -19 transmission, to quickly identify and remove participants who may have been exposed or contracted the COVID -19 virus and to also limit the participation of vulnerable and at-risk population.
The Mt. Lebanon Flag Football Association will continue to monitor and take the appropriate recommendations from the Center for Disease Control, Allegheny County Health Department, Mt. Lebanon School District and the Mt. Lebanon Recreation Department. We realize that knowledge regarding COVID -19 is constantly changing as new information and recommendations become available. The MLFFA will adjust the following guidelines as needed to make our program and its participants as safe as possible.
As the MLFFA strives to provide the safest environment possible for our children, we are providing the following guidelines to be followed by athletes, parents, coaches and all involved with the program.
1. Be considerate of others.
2. Physical distancing is always encouraged when not actively engaged in sport participation. When spectating or waiting for your athletes, please adhere to the 6-foot minimum spacing guidelines.
3. Wear a mask on and off the field of play.
4. Wash hands with soap or hand sanitizer regularly. The league will provide hand sanitizer, but we strongly encourage each player/family to also bring their own.
5. Participants on and around the field of play should be limited wherever possible.
6. Social gatherings and grouping of players and spectators should not occur at this time.
7. Refrain from bringing/sharing any food. Personal water or drink containers with names on them are very highly recommended.
8. If the athlete or any of the athlete support group feels sick, we ask that they stay at home. COVID-19 symptoms include but are not limited to cough, shortness of breath, fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, chills, muscle pain, loss of taste or smell and sore throat.
We will continue to:
- Monitor and update this plan
- Keep the parents, coaches and players informed of any changes
- Review and adhere to CDC guidance
- Focus on skill building versus competition drills to limit close contact
- Require a check-in sheet for every team during practices and games to allow for communication should a confirmed case of a COVID-19 diagnosis occurs.
- Provide additional sanitation equipment at the fields of practice or play.
- Stagger the start times and locations at practices and games to minimize the contact between players, supporting family and friends and visitors.
- Handle setting up the cones and markers for the games to minimize the handling of the equipment by numerous parties.
- Keep the lines of communication open between parents, coaches and the MLFFA administration.
As we continue the process of planning for the upcoming season, we will consider ways to make the game safer. Below is a list of possible updates to the way we conduct flag football practices and games.
- Have coaches call plays from the sidelines rather than in a team huddle
- Add additional timeouts to allow for hand hygiene during each half
- Provide additional footballs where possible to allow for more frequent equipment switches
- Disinfect footballs with wipes or alcohol as often as possible
- Discourage players from removing and reinserting mouthguards
- Use of electronic or handheld whistles
- Focus on skill building versus competition drills that will limit close contact
From the parent’s perspective, we are asking you to:
- Wear an approved mask when assisting your child in the proximity of all playing fields
- Ensure your child is maintaining good hygiene
- Check your child for symptoms of the virus noted above - including taking the child’s temperature before games and practices
- Notify your child’s coach if their child is not feeling well
- Ensure your child’s equipment and uniform are properly sanitized after each game and practice
- Provide your child with hand sanitizer for each game and practice
- Stay in your car during practices and games when social distancing is not feasible
- Stay in your car with your child until the arrival time for each game or practice
- Do not touch game balls during the course of a game (allow participating players, coaches and umpires/referees to retrieve balls that go out of play)
- Leave the field promptly after each game or practice to minimize unnecessary contact with players, coaches and spectators from the next game or practice.
From a player’s perspective, we are asking players to:
- Wear an approved face covering while on the field during games and practices
- Stay home if they are not comfortable returning to play or they are exhibiting signs of the virus
- Sanitize their hands before, during and after practices
- Wash and sanitize their equipment after each practice and game
- Bring their own personal drinks to all team activities. Drinks should be labeled with the person’s name. Individuals should take their own drink containers home each night for cleaning and sanitation or use single-use bottles.
- Do not share water or equipment
- Activities that increase the risk of exposure to saliva must not be allowed including chewing gum, spitting, licking fingers, and eating sunflower seeds
- Respect social distancing and to place their equipment at least 6 feet apart from other players equipment
- During down time, athletes and coaches should not congregate
From a coach’s perspective, we are asking coaches to:
- Always wear an approved face mask when on or in proximity to the field of practice or play
- Survey players and coaches in attendance of their health before practice - if individuals participating in sporting activities show symptoms, have a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher, or are sick, they must be sent home
- Respect player and parents not comfortable with returning
- Confirm the attendance of all players and coaches in attendance at games and practices to MLFFA administration
- Respect social distancing and attempt to remain 6 feet apart from others
- During down time, athletes and coaches should not congregate
- Monitor that there is no use of shared or team beverages or food
- Help to ensure that all players managers/coaches, volunteers, umpires, referees etc., are wearing approved face coverings
- Ensure any equipment used for practices are sanitized or cleaned after each game or practice
- Focus on practice activities that limit close contact or drills
- Refrain from any unnecessary contact during play
- Handshakes, high fives, or other unnecessary contact should be avoided. Greetings, hand waving and other forms of sportsmanship are encouraged
- Should the coach be made aware that a player has become infected with the COVID-19 virus, they will take all necessary information about the child’s past participation in team activities so this information may be relayed to MLFFA administration and to the proper authorities.
In the event of a suspected or confirmed case of Coronavirus, we have established the following guidelines as well
- The player’s parent or guardian will contact the coach so we can communicate to the risk of exposure to the rest of the teams/families. Be assured, we will not share any personal information, our communication will simply alert other participants that they may have encountered a suspected or confirmed case of Coronavirus.
- We will review the sign in sheets to be able to assist in identifying any players or coaches that may need to take additional precautions to make sure they have information to take appropriate action.
- We recommend immediate isolation and medical care for any individual who develops symptoms.
- We will contact health officials about suspected cases or exposure.
- The infected player should not attend any MLFFA sports related activity until cleared by a medical professional.
All the above information is set out as guidelines and recommendations based on the most current available information and are subject to change at any time. The decision to participate in the flag football is the sole decision of each family and the MLFFA is not responsible for anyone who contracts any illness, including COVID-19 as a result of participation in MLFFA activities. Additional resources are provided below to assist MLFFA, coaches’ parents and students stay as safe as possible as we provide youth sporting activities to the community of Mt. Lebanon. If at any time any of the guiding agencies referenced above or the MLFFA deems the sport of youth flag football to be unsafe we will be forced to cancel games or possibly the season.