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Fairport Youth Football 

Return to Play 2020

On July 6th, 2020 the New York State Department of Health released  Interim COVID-19 Guidance for Sports and Recreation, which permitted flag football, among other sports and activities to resume as long as certain safety measures were adhered to. Specifically, the document provides guidance in terms of maintaining physical distance when possible, wearing a protective mask if practical, and cleaning practices for equipment use. 

In addition to the guidance provided by the NYS Department of Health, the  CDC’s Considerations for Youth Sports helped inform our organization’s implementation process. 


While the guidance provided by the NYS Dept. of Health and the CDC encompass flag football, the documents do not address flag football specifically. For football- specific guidance, we relied on: NFL Flag: Return to Play and USA Football: Return to Football 2020


Below are the guidelines set forth for our 2020 Flag Football season. We look forward to providing a safe environment for our children, families and coaches to experience the camaraderie, excitement  and friendships associated with youth sports. 


Before practice or games:

  • It is  recommended that all parents, athletes and coaches adhere to this self check health guide. Coaches and league organizers may administer these basic health questions on a situational basis. 

    Ex. Athletes expressing not feeling well or observed to not looking well

    • Parents should take their child’s temperature prior to leaving for football practice or a game. Athletes or parents with a temperature above 100.3 must stay home.

    •  Our organization will have touchless thermometers for additional testing or if temperature testing was not done prior to leaving home.

    •  All athletes should bring a face covering, mouthpiece, water bottle, and a pocket sized hand sanitizer.

    •  The following one page guide provides additional guidance for parents to follow.

Use of face coverings during practice and games:


  • All athletes should arrive with a face covering/ mask. While masks are not required for all activities at practice, there may be situations where athletes will be asked to wear masks or protective covering.

    • Ex. Certain situations where athletes are less than six feet apart. 

  • Coaches will be wearing masks at times throughout practices and games, particularly when proper social distancing is not possible.

    • Ex. Explaining drills or calling a play from a short distance. 

    • When practical, coaches will speak to athletes from a distance of six feet.

Please review the guidance (below) related to face coverings and youth sports. Certainly, athletes have the choice to wear protective covering beyond what is recommended (especially) if they can tolerate the covering with a mouthpiece and avoid excessive touching of their face.  


From the NYS Department of Health:

  • Responsible Parties must ensure a distance of at least six feet is maintained among individuals at all times, whether indoor or outdoor, unless safety or the core activity (e.g. practicing, playing) requires a shorter distance. If a shorter distance is required, individuals must wear acceptable face coverings, unless players are unable to tolerate a face covering for the physical activity (e.g. practicing, playing); provided, however, that coaches, trainers, and other individuals who are not directly engaged in physical activity are required to wear a face covering. 

From the CDC:

  • Teach and reinforce the use of cloth face coverings.... Face coverings may be challenging for players (especially younger players) to wear while playing sports. Face coverings should be worn by coaches, youth sports staff, officials, parents, and spectators as much as possible.

  • Wearing cloth face coverings is most important when physical distancing is difficult.

  • People wearing face coverings should be reminded to not touch the face covering and to wash their hands frequently. Information should be provided to all participants on the proper use, removal, and washing of cloth face coverings.

From the the PLAY Sports Coalition and the National Council of Youth Sports via NFL Flag: Return to Play:

  • There is no clear answer yet on whether a player or participant should wear a cloth facemask during play. Distance sports may not require the use of a mask and in some close play sport situations where  there is intense cardio and or body moisture, wearing a mask may cause more risk than prevent. The CDC yet does not take a position on whether participants should wear a mask. 


Structures in place for safer distancing for the 2020 Season:

  • Smaller teams (approximately 8-10  players) 

    • Whereas previous years featured larger teams (up to 30 for tackle and 12 for K-2 flag) this year will focus on smaller rosters and small sided games. 

  • Practices featuring smaller groups/teams of players moving through stations 

    • Each station will feature predetermined drills designed with social distancing, shared equipment hygiene practices, and protective face covering options in place. 

    • Ex. If a drill requires athletes to wait in line, cones or discs will be measured out. 

    • Ex. If athletes are in a passing line, footballs will be wiped clean prior to being circulated  back into the drill or athletes will maintain the same balls throughout the drill and cleaned before the next group arrives. 

  • Physical contact will be limited. High fives, fist bumps, etc will be discouraged. 


Scrimmages and games:

  • Team rosters will be small and games will feature small sided formats (5 vs. 5, 6 vs. 6 or 7 vs. 7 depending on the age group)

  • A coach will be assigned to spot the ball. This coach will also wipe the ball with disinfectant prior to the next play. 

  • Players will be asked to stand 6 feet apart and we will have a coach monitoring the sideline

  • If practical, the traditional huddle for calling plays will be replaced by alternative methods such as holding up signs from a further distance.

  • Within a huddle or any time a coach needs to speak closely to a group of athletes, the coach will be expected to wear protective face covering. 

Additional Health Protocols:

If any athlete, player or coach becomes aware that someone has participated in activities while unwell (knowingly or unknowingly) and it results in a known COVID-19 exposure/illness/positive, please notify a  program Board member as soon as possible. Our board will contact the Monroe County Department of Health to collaborate on subsequent steps. Names will not be released but information will be shared to the extent allowed in coordination with the Monroe County Department of Health. 

*While we recognize the positive value that participation in sports on our children's physical, social and emotional well being, the safety of our athletes, coaches and families will always be the #1 priority. Keep in mind that our safety guidelines are set forth by the NYS Department of Health and other governing bodies. Guidance for flag football and youth sports in our region are subject to changes.  

Contact

Fairport Raiders Youth Football & Cheerleading

PO Box 721 
Fairport, New York 14450

Email: [email protected]

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