State provides guidance for winter high school sports

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State provides guidance for winter high school sports

Tue, 10/26/2021 - 4:33pm -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine Natural Resources Secretary Julie Moore today at Governor Scott’s press briefing issued the new guidance for winter high school sports. The guidance is also available on the Agency of Education website.

With the exception of the “inversion” sports (going upside down like in gymnastics, cheer, wrestling), the indoor recommendations are similar to last year in which the athletes need to wear masks unless it is an outdoor sport like skiing.

Moore, and Governor Scott, acknowledged that these were recommendations only because there is no State of Emergency and the governor cannot impose mandates on the school districts as he did during the early part of the COVID pandemic in 2020.

The school districts themselves must develop their own rules. The state recommends that the home team provide the local mandates.

The guidance includes allowance for indoor spectators, as long as they wear masks.

Vaccinated athletes do not need to quarantine, according to the guidance, while non-vaccinated athletes should follow the same health protocols, such as quarantining and testing if they are a close contact.

State of Vermont Guidance. October 26, 2021

Background

This purpose of this memo is to support local decision making around implementing indoor winter sports programs during the 2021-2022 school year. Outdoor winter sports may be held as normal with individual participants and spectators implementing COVID-19 precautionary measures as a matter of personal choice.

Since it does not appear a state of emergency will be necessary at this time, this memo is advisory only. This means there will be some potential for conflicting approaches when schools engage in competitions. Our recommendation is the hosting or home school should determine the mitigation measures that are implemented.

Sport-Specific Recommendations

We will not be producing sport-specific recommendations this year. All winter sports programs should follow the recommendations outlined in this memo.

Vaccination

We strongly recommend all eligible student athletes get vaccinated. Vaccination is a proven mitigation strategy and will ultimately ensure athletes can stay in school and compete safely throughout the season. It may be helpful to remind athletes and their families that vaccinated individuals will not need to quarantine should an exposure occur.

While participation in a “Test to Stay” program will allow unvaccinated athletes to continue to participate in team-based practices during their quarantine, it will not enable involvement in interscholastic competition (i.e., games, meets or competitions).

Testing

Unvaccinated student athletes and any athlete participating in activities where masks cannot be consistently worn (i.e., wrestling, gymnastics, cheer, dance) should participate in weekly testing. COVID-19 Advisory Memo: Indoor Winter Sports (Revised: Oct. 26, 2021) Page 2 of 2

Masking

Masks should be worn by all student athletes, coaching staff, referees and spectators during indoor practices, competitions and games, regardless of individual vaccination status, except for the following limited circumstances:

  • • Athletes participating in running events – both practice sessions and meets/competitions – so long as physical distancing is maintained between individuals using staggered starts or other means.
  • • Athletes participating in wrestling, gymnastics, cheer and dance skills and events that require inversion (i.e., wrestling, tumbling, vaulting, bars, etc.).

Spectators

Spectators may be permitted at indoor winter sports games and competitions if the host school’s policies permit them. Spectators are expected to observe all mitigation measures adopted by the school including, but not limited to, those related to masking.

Contact Tracing

Vermont schools will maintain responsibility for internal contact tracing when a student athlete or staff participated in a school-based sports program while infectious; the Vermont Department of Health will undertake contact tracing for any identified close contacts to infectious event spectators.

Source: Montpelier 10.26.2021. Agency of Education