Palo Alto Little League 2021 – 

COVID-19 Health & Safety Requirements for a  Phased Season 

Last modified 2/28/2021 

The following requirements apply to all Palo Alto Little League events as set forth below. The State of California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy (as of February 28, 2021),  the Order of the Health Officer of the County of Santa Clara (as of February 26, 2021), and the State’s guidance for Outdoor and Indoor Youth and Recreational Adult Sports (as of February 19, 2021) (the “Health Orders”) permit certain activities to proceed in accordance with specific requirements, while other activities are prohibited. As a  result, Palo Alto Little League has established a “phased” approach to the 2021 season.  The league will operate under Phase 1 of this plan whenever the guidelines and restrictions set forth in the Health Orders do not allow Little League games to be played. The league will operate under Phase 2 of this plan whenever public health authorities do allow Little League games. As of this date, the Health Orders allow baseball games to take place as long as Santa Clara County is either (1) in the “Red  Tier” or better; or (2) in the “Purple Tier” with an “adjusted case rate” equal to or less than 14 per 100,000, as defined in the Health Orders. 

General Requirements & Restrictions (All Phases) 

The following restrictions and requirements apply to any and all Palo Alto Little League  events, regardless of which phase is in effect: 

Before departing for any Little League Event 

  • All individuals must measure their body temperature prior to participating or attending any Little League activity. An individual with any of the following symptoms/conditions cannot attend a Little League activity until evaluated by a  medical provider and given clearance to do so: 
  1. Active COVID-19 infection
  2. Known contact with an individual testing positive for COVID-19 within the past 14 days
  3. Any of the following within the previous 3 days:

o Fever greater than 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit or chills 

o Cough 

o Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing 

o Fatigue

o Muscle or body aches 

o Headache 

o New loss of taste or smell 

o Sore throat 

o Congestion or runny nose 

o Nausea or vomiting 

o Diarrhea 

  • Any individual, including players, with higher risk for severe illness or with a serious underlying medical or respiratory condition, or any individual living with a high-risk individual, should only attend Little League activities with permission from a  medical professional and should ensure the strictest adherence to safety guidelines,  such as those regarding face coverings, distancing, and hand washing. Such groups  include: 

o Those with a serious underlying medical condition, including heart disease,  morbid obesity, diabetes, lung disease, an immunocompromised status,  chronic kidney disease, and others discussed here 

o Those currently residing in a nursing home or long-term care facility o Those over 65 years old 

  • Parents must keep TeamSnap’s “Availability” feature accurate and up-to-date for their player(s) for all scheduled events. Palo Alto Little League is required to keep per-event attendance records as a means of facilitating contact tracing in the event of potential exposure. A designated team manager or coach will confirm player attendance using TeamSnap after each event.  
  • All players, coaches, volunteers, independent contractors, and spectators should wash or disinfect their hands before leaving to attend any Little League activity.

Participating at any Little League Event 

  • A team manager, acting manager, or league official, has the discretion to remove from activity, separate, and request parent/guardian pick up for any player showing any of the symptoms listed above or who, despite reminders, is not following the health and safety guidelines described in this document. 
  • Participants’ immediate household members may observe a Little League event but only as needed for age-appropriate supervision.
  • All players, coaches, volunteers, independent contractors, and spectators must practice social distancing of at least six feet wherever possible from individuals not residing within their household. For situations when players are engaging in the sports activity, see below for more information. 
  • Players and coaches must take measures to prevent all but the essential contact necessary to participate in practice and play. This includes refraining from and 

prohibiting handshakes, high fives, fist/elbow bumps, chest bumps, group celebrations, etc.  

  • All adults picking up or dropping off players must wear face coverings
  • All managers/coaches, volunteers, umpires, spectators, etc. must wear face coverings at all times.
  • All players age 9 or older must wear face coverings at all times while participating in a Little League event. Players who are unable to wear a face-covering for a medical or disability-related reason are exempt from this requirement. Face coverings are recommended whenever possible for players younger than 9. 
  • Face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  • No shared or team beverages, snacks, or food of any kind are allowed. Players should bring individual, pre-packaged food if needed.
  • Players, managers/coaches, and umpires should bring their own personal drinks to all team activities. Drinks should be labeled with the person’s name.
  • Players should not wear protective medical gloves on the field during play. 
  • Players must have their own personal equipment: batting helmet, glove, batting gloves, etc.; this type of personal equipment may not be shared.
  • It may not be practical for some pieces of necessary equipment (e.g., bats, catcher’s gear) to be obtained by every individual. When it is necessary to share equipment that does not come into contact with the head or face (e.g., bats), participants must use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol before and after each use. For equipment that does come into contact with the head or face (e.g.,  catcher’s helmets), all surfaces of the equipment must be cleaned first and then disinfected with an EPA-approved disinfectant against coronaviruses and allowed sufficient time to dry before being used by another player.  

At Home (Recommended) 

  • Player’s equipment (e.g. bags, helmets, bats, gloves, etc.) should be cleaned and disinfected after each use by a parent/guardian/caretaker, where applicable. If surfaces are visibly soiled or dirty, they should be cleaned with a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection. 
  • Individuals disinfecting equipment are encouraged to use gloves while using disinfectants and follow the manufacturer’s directions for use. All disinfectants should be stored properly, in a safe area, out of reach of children.
  • Players should wash hands/shower immediately upon returning home. Player clothes/uniforms should be laundered.

Phase 1 – “Practice Camps” 

During periods when the Health Orders prohibit youth baseball games, each group of players will operate as its own practice camp. Each group will operate as an unchanging  (i.e., stable) cohort of players. Once assigned to a cohort and practice camps begin, a  player may not change from one cohort to another. A player participating in a practice camp may NOT participate in any other group childcare program (e.g., soccer camp,  chess camp, etc.) during the same period other than their school-based cohort. In addition, a player may not move from one after-school cohort to another more often than every three weeks.  

Unless specifically approved by Palo Alto Little League’s Safety Officer, coaches may not work with more than one group of children (e.g., another team, camp, or daycare facility). 

Guidance Specific to Practices 

  • Only a single cohort/team is allowed to practice on a field at any time. Practices are limited to the managers/coaches and players of the cohort/team. Players should arrive and depart with members of their own household only. 
  • If there is another cohort/team practice prior to yours, families are encouraged to stay in their vehicles until the start of your practice or at the recommended social distance – at least six feet from individuals not residing within their household.
  • All players should maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance from other participants whenever possible, including during use of batting cages and while waiting their turn.
  • To minimize sharing of items and reduce possible transmission, we strongly encourage all players to bring their own hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. However, managers will maintain a supply of hand sanitizer and request that players and coaches sanitize their hands at various appropriate times during practices (e.g., during water breaks). 
  • Players and families should vacate the field/facility as soon as is reasonably possible after the conclusion of a practice to minimize unnecessary contact with other cohorts.

Phase 2 – Intra-League Games 

During periods when the Health Orders allow playing youth baseball games, all of the  guidelines above under Phase 1 apply for team practices, with the following exception:  while the Health Orders recommend that players refrain from participating with more  

than one team over the same season or time period, this is not a strict requirement  during Phase 2. 

In addition, the following guidelines apply to all Palo Alto Little League games. These  guidelines and requirements may change as the Health Orders are revised. 

Arriving to a Game 

  • Players/families/spectators are instructed not to show up to fields more than 40 minutes before game time.
  • If there is a game prior to yours, families and spectators are encouraged to stay in  their vehicles until the start of their game play (to prevent overcrowding of spectator spaces and walkways) or at the recommended social distance – at least six feet from individuals not residing within their household. 

The Game Site 

  • All spectators must follow social distancing practices — stay at least six feet away from individuals outside their household; wear a face covering; and avoid direct hand or other contact with players/managers/coaches. 
  • Spectators should bring their own seating or portable chairs when possible. No food/drink/concession sales will be allowed at facilities. 
  • Families are encouraged to bring their own food/beverages for their own  consumption only.
  • Sunflower seeds, gum, etc., are not allowed. 
  • All players, umpires, and managers/coaches are to refrain from spitting at all times,  including in dugout areas and on the playing field.
  • A “one-in-one-out” restroom policy, where only one individual is permitted within  the restroom at one time, shall be implemented to ensure adequate distancing in the confined restroom space. Wash hands!

Pre-Game 

  • Each player will be assigned a spot in the stands or other designated area to place their equipment and sit while waiting for their opportunity to play. These spots are to be maintained at least six feet apart and must be placed behind a fence whenever  possible.
  • Personal player bat/equipment bags are not allowed in the dugout. Player  equipment is to be spaced accordingly outside the dugout to prevent direct contact by others.
  • When instructed to do so, players should place their individual equipment in a well spaced out manner for inspection by umpires. Umpires should avoid direct contact with equipment where possible but, when required, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol after the inspection of each individual piece of  equipment. 
  • Social distancing of at least six feet between individuals should be implemented  during all pre-game plate meetings between teams and umpires.
  • Plate meetings should only consist of one manager or coach from each team, and  game umpires. Players may not participate in plate meetings.
  • All plate meeting participants must wear a face covering. 

Game Play 

  • In order to limit individual contact, each team is required to provide new baseballs for their team to use while on defense. Baseballs should be wiped with a disinfectant wipe after each half-inning of play. 
  • Balls used during infield/outfield warm-up should be isolated from balls not yet used  that game; a different set of warm-up balls should be used each half-inning.
  • Managers shall maintain a supply of hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent  alcohol and request players and coaches sanitize their hands at the beginning of each offensive half-inning.
  • Foul balls landing outside the field of play should be retrieved by participating  players, coaches, and umpires. No spectators should retrieve a foul ball.
  • Players are to stay at their assigned spots when on the bench or while waiting their  turn to bat. While on offense, only the on-deck and in-the-hole batters are allowed in the dugout.
  • Umpires are permitted to position themselves behind the pitcher’s mound/circle to  call balls and strikes. Umpires are encouraged to keep a safe distance from players as much as possible.
  • Umpires should limit their contact with the ball, and catchers should retrieve foul  balls and passed balls where possible.

Post-Game 

  • Little League Baseball suggests lining up outside the dugout, while maintaining at least 6-foot distancing, and tipping caps to the opposing team as a sign of good sportsmanship after a game. 
  • All post-game meetings must maintain at least 6-foot distancing.

Departing a Game 

  • Players and families should vacate the field/facility as soon as is reasonably possible after the conclusion of their game to minimize unnecessary contact with players, coaches, and spectators from the next game, ideally within 15 minutes.

General Health Recommendations to Improve  Personal Protection 

Wash Your Hands Often: 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, using the restroom, or before/after eating. 
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least  60 percent alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth, or face covering. Wash or sanitize your  hands if you do so.
  • Players/coaches/spectators are encouraged to bring their own hand sanitizer for  personal use.

Cover Your Mouth and Nose with a Face Covering When Around Others: You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick. 

  • Everyone should wear a face covering when they have to go out in public, for  example in public areas around your Little League fields and parks.
  • Face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who  has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  • The face covering is meant primarily to protect other people in case you are  infected.
  • Do NOT use a facemask meant for a healthcare worker, as it is important that these  facemasks are available for those professionals needing that personal protective equipment.
  • Continue to keep at least six feet between yourself and others. The face covering is  not a substitute for social distancing.

Cover Coughs and Sneezes: 

  • If you are in a private setting and do not have on your face covering, remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow. 
  • Throw used tissues in the trash immediately.
  • Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap  and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.

All players and coaches should practice good general health habits, including  maintenance of adequate hydration, consumption of a varied, vitamin-rich diet with  sufficient vegetables and fruits, and getting adequate sleep.

References 

https://www.sccgov.org/sites/covid19/Pages/public-health-orders.aspx https://www.sccgov.org/sites/covid19/Pages/mandatory-directives-youth-and-adult recreational-athletic-activities.aspx 

https://www.sccgov.org/sites/covid19/Pages/mandatory-directives-gatherings.aspx 

https://covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy/ 

https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/COVID-19/outdoor-indoor recreational-sports.aspx 

https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/CDPH%20Document%20Library/COVID 19/Guidance-for-Face-Coverings_06-18-2020.pdf 

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/symptom screening.html 

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/guidance for-childcare.html 

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/about-face coverings.html 

https://www.littleleague.org/player-safety/coronavirus-update/season-resumption guide/best-practices/organizing-playing-watching-games/