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Thank you for continuing to help keep our sport safe as we continue to battle Covid-19.  Last fall, our clubs did a great job in following the protocols to keep everyone safe and preventing youth soccer from being a super spreader.

As the spring approaches, there are some changes based on recommendations and/or mandates from the CDC or the PA Department of Health.  You’ll find updated documents on the Covid-19 Info page of our web site.

These changes include:

Masks  -  PA has mandated the use of masks when outside, including during athletic competition.  Per PA Department of Health directive, athletes and referees must wear them at all times. 
Masks are required to be worn by players and referees for:

•             entering and leaving the field/location.

•             when on the bench or when social distancing cannot be done.

•             for team check in with referees (since social distancing may not be consistently possible)

•             at the start of the game and at the start of the second half

Players are expected to do their best to keep everyone safe.

PA Universal Masking Requirement:   https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/Documents/Diseases%20and%20Conditions/Updated%20Order%20of%20the%20Secretary%20Requiring%20Universal%20Face%20Coverings.pdf
Medical exceptions may be requested with a doctor’s recommendation.

Quarantine Requirements  -  The CDC has set new quarantine standards.

  • Individuals who have tested positive for Covid-19, if symptom free for 72 hours, may end quarantine after 10 days.
  • Individuals who have been exposed to someone testing positive for Covid-19 must quarantine for 14 days.

CDC Quarantine Instruction:https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/quarantine.html

Travel Quarantine  -  PA’s travel quarantine has been lifted.  This permits teams to travel to out-of-state games, tournaments, regional league, and national league play without having to quarantine or test upon return home.

Travel Quarantine Guidance: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-revises-mitigation-order-on-gatherings-and-lifts-out-of-state-travel-restrictions/

Capacity Limitations  - Effective April 4 the limits will expand to 50% capacity for outdoor events and 25% capacity for indoor events. Please note:  Masking and social distancing will still be required. PA Capacity Limits: https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-revises-mitigation-order-on-gatherings-and-lifts-out-of-state-travel-restrictions/

Governor’s website:  https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-effective-april-4-more-options-for-restaurants-and-other-businesses-mass-gathering-maximums-increase/

The information in our Return to Play documents are meant to align with all laws, mandates, and directives from the government agencies afforded the authority to do so. We will make every effort to adjust our documents as changes occur and alert you to those changes.  When a discrepancy occurs please follow the information provided by the state or federal government agency. 

As we did last fall, we urge you to identify a contact with either the State Department of Health or, those living in a county with a health department, your county health department.  They will be able to give the most current instruction on quarantining, contact tracing, masking, etc.

Masking Mandate FAQ (excerpted from PA West issued 3/18/2021)

Why are masks required on the field of play? 

The Commonwealth of PA issued a masking order on November 17, 2020 and revised it on November 23, 2020 that requires all Pennsylvanians to wear a mask when indoors or outdoors and not with the members of their household and they cannot sustain the appropriate physical distance.

What is sustained physical distance?

Sustained physical distance means the practice of staying at least six feet away from others to avoid becoming a close contact. On October 21, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its definition of close contact to "someone who was within six feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period." The guidance goes on to note that there are additional factors to consider when defining "close contact." DOH recommends using 15 consecutive minutes of exposure at a distance of six feet or less as an operational definition for "close contact." However, there are circumstances when someone should be considered a close contact of a case after being within six feet for fewer than 15 consecutive minutes. Additional factors that should be considered when assessing close contacts include but are not limited to close proximity to an infected person, infected person exhibiting symptoms, and environmental conditions like crowds or inadequate ventilation.

How long will masks be required?

Masks will be required until the Commonwealth of PA removes the requirement for athletes to wear masks while on the field.

What happens if I don't wear a mask?
The wearing of a face covering, such as a mask, helps us as a society to limit the spread of COVID-19 and successfully combat this pandemic; therefore, it is in everyone's best interest that all Pennsylvanians comply with this Order.

As this is a legal Order under the Disease Prevention and Control Law, law enforcement officers are authorized to issue warnings or citations to anyone who does not comply with the Order. The Department of Health can also issue warnings and citations to businesses, persons, facilities, and organizations that do not comply.

Does the Order apply to athletes and sports activities?
Yes. Everyone who participates in sport activities including coaches, athletes (including cheerleaders), and spectators must wear a face covering, such as a mask, unless they fall under an exception in Section 3 of the Order.

   Indoors: Coaches, athletes (including cheerleaders), and spectators must wear face coverings, when indoors and where another person or persons who are not members of the individual's household are present in the same space, irrespective of physical distance. This includes while actively engaged in workouts, competition, and on the sidelines, etc.

  Outdoors: Coaches, athletes (including cheerleaders), and spectators must wear face coverings if they cannot maintain sustained physical distance from persons outside of their household. This includes while actively engaged in workouts, competition, and on the sidelines, in the dugout, etc. If sustained six-foot distancing can be maintained, face coverings may be removed when outdoors.

Can an athlete remove their mask during play?

If an athlete is at a sustained distance from the other athletes, the player may lower their mask until play approaches leading to an elimination of sustained distance.

Can an athlete remove their mask during play if the mask causes a medical condition, including respiratory issues that impede breathing?

Yes, the Order provides an exception in section 3 that provides that if wearing a face covering would either cause a medical condition, or exacerbate an existing one, including respiratory issues that impede breathing, a mental health condition or a disability.  The order indicates all alternatives to wearing a face covering, including the use of a face shield, should be exhausted before an individual is excepted from this Order. 

Covid-19 Resources

CDC's Short Video on Youth Sports Recommendations
Stop the Spread

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