COVID-19: Returning to Play

Return to Training (RTT) – Protocol

Lehigh Valley United

Summer 2020

 

GENERAL UNDERSTANDING

  • LVU 2019/20 season summer training sessions are voluntary, and you should feel comfortable determining for yourself if you would like to resume training activities.
  • All participants – staff/volunteers/players, must sign waivers to participate – No Exceptions will be made. (See Covid-19 Waiver Document)
  • No player, parent, coach, or participant should attend training if showing symptoms.  For a comprehensive list of symptoms (See Appendix A.)
  • The State of Pennsylvania and Governor allow for training and game activity in the Green Phase.  (See Appendix B.)     

 

PRE-ARRIVAL PHASE:

Coaches

  • Coaching staff have read the RTT Protocol and signed the Covid-19 Waiver.
    • Coaching staff have met with their teams via Zoom to prepare them for the return to training process. 
    • Coaching staff have cleaned and prepared all equipment needed.
    • Coaching staff have pre-prepared their training sessions taking into consideration any agreed upon parameters such as social distancing.
    • Coaching staff have communicated plans with LVU administration, their team, and any volunteers prior to arriving at the field such as field number, parking lot to be used, staging area, and any other pertinent information.

Administration

  • RTP Protocol and Covid-19 Waiver sent electronically to teams.
  • RTP Protocol and Covid-10 Waiver posted and made accessible on-line.
  • Site maps created outlining logistics such as field assignments, drop off & pick up locations and staging areas.
  • Bathroom procedures for locations are pre-sent.
  • Weather protocol and procedures are pre-sent.

Players

  • Players/Parent or Guardian should sign and return at the field as their “ticket” to enter training.
  • Players should be familiar with the team’s training plan, protocol, and logistics.
  • Players should have pre-packed and cleaned any necessary equipment such as Game Jerseys (may take the place of pinnies), ball, water, etc.  Players should mark their name on all their equipment. 
  • Players should bring sanitizing wipes or gels, and a facemask.

 

ARRIVAL PHASE:

All participants (players, referees, instructors, administrators) are recommended to wear new or clean PPE (facemask) upon arrival, departure and when not physically active during activities.

Coaches are required to wear new of clean PPE facemasks at all times

Coaches

  • Coaching staff should arrive minimally 30 minutes prior to the start of the session.
  • Coaching staff have signed the Covid-19 Waiver and have printed physical copies for players/parents at field locations.
  • Coaching staff should preset their field space prior to the start of their session to the best of their ability.  Players should not be used to set up or take down field equipment and should not handle pinnies once distributed. 
  • Once fields are set Coaches should help in the arrival protocol and greeting.  They should let players know where to put their belongings.

Administration

  • Administrators and Volunteer (designated persons) have read the RTT Protocol and signed the Covid-19 Waiver.
    • A designated person (wearing a facemask) takes attendance of all persons present at any time and is aware of any outstanding waivers still to be collected. 
      • a. Date b. Venue c. Name d. Phone e. Email Address of participants f. Specific training session i.e. time/field/coach etc. 
    • Those without waivers can sign a hard copy at the field.
      • No exceptions will be made for players without a waiver.
    • A designated person has extra facemasks and hand sanitizer available, at sanitization station. 
    • A designated person takes temperatures.
    • A designated person helps organize the drop-off and staging areas.
    • A designated person reaffirms the departure plan with players/parents at this time.

Players

  • Players should report to the designated person for taking attendance.  Covid-19 Waivers should be handed in at this time by the player or parent/guardian. 
  • Players should keep themselves and their belongings socially distanced (minimum 6’) from other players. 

 

TRAINING AND ACTIVITY PHASE:

Provided all screening, hygiene and social distancing measures are followed, masks are not mandatory for players/referees/instructors/participants during exertional moments of training (i.e. when physically active). PPE may obscure vision, increase respiratory challenges, or increase other injury risk while being physically active.

Coaches are required to wear new of clean PPE facemasks at all times

Coaches

  • Coaches are to facilitate training sessions within the parameters pre-set by the club.
  • Kick-ins are the preferred restart for training games. 
  • Coaches are to ensure moments before, during (water breaks, etc.…) and after practice players abide by the protocol, i.e. Put on facemasks, do not share equipment/water bottles, etc.…
  • Should a player demonstrate any health symptoms Coaches should immediately remove that player from the training session. 

Administration

  • A designated person should remain on site during the training session.

Players

  • Parents wishing to remain on site will need to wait away from the training area or in their cars, while maintaining social distancing. 
  • Players should be aware of all protocol and parameters and act accordingly.
    • No spitting, high-fives, or handshakes
  • Players may not share equipment such as water bottles.
  • If a player experiences any health issues, they should alert the Coach and/or designated administrative person immediately. (See Appendix A.)

 

DEPARTURE PHASE

All participants (coaches, players, referees, instructors, administrators) are recommended to wear new or clean PPE upon arrival, departure and when not physically active during activities. 

Coaches are required to wear new of clean PPE facemasks at all times

Coaches

  • Coaches should remind players of their general hygiene responsibilities, i.e. washing hands, equipment, etc.…
  • Coaches should monitor the departure/staging area to ensure guidelines and protocol continues to be met until all participants leave.
  • Coaches wash hands and equipment in preparation for their next session.

Administration

  • Waivers are filed.
  • Daily attendance is filed.

Players

  • Players wash hands and equipment.
  • Players to monitor and report any health issues. (See Appendix A.)

 

Appendix A:

General Health

1.  If you are sick or have symptoms of an illness:

  • Stay home. Stay home regardless of what is causing your illness. 
  • If you are confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19 practice self-   quarantine measures and contact your physician.
  • To discontinue quarantine and return to sport, obtain appropriate clearance from your medical provider.

2.  If you have been in close contact (within 6 feet) with someone who is suspected or confirmed to have COVID 19:

  • Begin self-quarantine for 14 days.

3. Advise your instructor, club or coach if any possible exposures have occurred in your team, training or club environment. Parents (and not the minor player) should communicate with the club or coach, in accordance with the Safe Soccer Framework and the U.S. Center for SafeSport policies and guidance.  

 

Medical Clearance:

1. For individuals with a pre-existing medical condition, written clearance from your physician for return to full participation in sport & activity is recommended.

2. For individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, written confirmation of COVID-19 negative status and clearance from your physician for return to full participation in sport & activity. 

3. For individuals who have experienced known COVID-19 exposure in the past 14 days, the following is recommended:

  1. Home quarantine for 14 days 
  2. Written confirmation of COVID-19 negative status by your physician to return to play 

4. For individuals who experienced any illness during shelter-in-place, written clearance from your healthcare provider that you are COVID-free is recommended.

5. Be prepared to report the onset of any new symptoms immediately. Contact your physician and follow the recommendations above for return to play. 

6. Individuals who may be at increased risk of COVID-19 (including but not limited to age >65y/o, chronic cardiac or respiratory conditions including hypertension or diabetes, or have an immunocompromised state) should seek guidance by their medical professional as to their participation.

 

Daily Training Medical Considerations:

  1. The participant should conduct a daily temperature check for low grade fever (>100.4.) at home before training. If you have a fever, do not go to training. 
    1. If thermometers are not available, conduct a daily health questionnaire in line with the “Coronavirus Self-Checker,” made available by the CDC.
  2. Do not participate in activities if you have any of the symptoms listed below.
    1. COVID exposure in past 14 days
    2. Sore throat
    3. Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
    4. Fever >100.4 F
    5. Chills
    6. Headache
    7. Sinus congestion
    8. Cough persistent and or productive
    9. Joint aches and soreness
    10. Vomiting or diarrhea
    11. Rash
  3. Do not go to training facilities or fields with any of the above symptoms. Remotely communicate your health status to coaches, instructors, team administrators, or medical staff within 24 hours of your training session. Parents (and not the minor player) should communicate with the club or coach, in accordance with the Safe Soccer Framework and the U.S. Center for SafeSport policies and guidance.  Speak to a physician and follow CDC guidelines on self-quarantine. 

 

Appendix B:

Recreational and Amateur Sports - https://www.governor.pa.gov/covid-19/sports-guidance/

Recreational and amateur sports organizations and teams (not affiliated with a public or private PK-12 school), including, but not limited to, basketball, hockey, field hockey, football, soccer, swimming, baseball, softball, lacrosse, gymnastics, and kickball, are permitted to conduct in-person activities, including games and practices, in counties designated as being in the Green phase only if they strictly adhere to the requirements of this guidance, including the limits on total occupancy outlined below. For youth sports, refer to the CDC guidance on youth sports as well.

 

Appendix C

COVID - 19 Guidelines

  • Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from other individuals
  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as frequently as possible, or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
  • Cover coughs or sneezes with a sleeve or elbow, not hands
  • Do not shake hands
  • Regularly clean high-contact surface areas
  • When sick, stay at home

 

 

COMMUNICABLE DISEASE

RELEASE OF LIABILITY AND ASSUMPTION OF RISK AGREEMENT

FC Lehigh Valley United

In consideration of being allowed to participate in any way in and/or attending any training, games, tournaments, events and activities sponsored or organized by FC Lehigh Valley United, the undersigned participant (“Participant”) and his or her parent(s) (or legal guardians) acknowledge and agree that:

By participating in or attending any Event, there are certain risks to the undersigned arising from or related to possible exposure to communicable diseases, including, but not limited to, the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus which is responsible for the Coronavirus Disease (also known as COVID-19) and/or any mutation or variation thereof (collectively referred to as “Communicable Diseases”).  Each of the undersigned is fully aware of the hazards associated with such Communicable Diseases and knowingly and voluntarily assumes full responsibility for any and all risk of personal injury, illness or other loss or harm that the undersigned may sustain in connection with such Communicable Diseases and relating to participation in or attending any Event.

The undersigned, and, as applicable, for and on behalf of the undersigned’s minor child(ren) or ward(s), and on behalf of the heirs, assigns, beneficiaries, executors, administrators, personal representatives, and next of kin of the undersigned and such minor children of wards, HEREBY EXPRESSLY RELEASES, HOLDS HARMLESS, AND FOREVER DISCHARGES FC Lehigh Valley United and their respective officers, directors, members, managers, officials, agents, representatives, employees, other participants, sponsors, advertisers, and, if applicable, owners and lessors of premises upon which any Event takes place (the “Released Parties”), from any and all claims, demands, suits, actions, causes of action, losses, damages and liability of any kind whatsoever, whether in law or equity, arising out of or related to any ILLNESS, INJURY, DISABILITY, DEATH, OR OTHER HARM incurred due to or in connection with any Communicable Diseases incurred, or alleged to have been incurred, in connection with any Event, WHETHER ARISING FROM ANY NEGLIGENCE OF ANY RELEASED PARTY OR OTHERWISE, to the fullest extent permitted by law.

Each of the undersigned agrees that this Agreement is intended to be as broad and inclusive as is permitted by the laws of Pennsylvania, and if any portion hereof is held invalid, it is agreed that the remainder shall continue in full legal force and effect.

EACH OF THE UNDERSIGNED HAS READ THIS RELEASE OF LIABILITY AND ASSUMPTION OF RISK AGREEMENT, FULLY UNDERSTANDS ITS TERMS, UNDERSTANDS THAT THE UNDERSIGNED HAS GIVEN UP SUBSTANTIAL RIGHTS BY SIGNING IT, AND SIGNS IT FREELY AND VOLUNTARILY WITHOUT ANY INDUCEMENT.  

FOR PARENTS/GUARDIANS OF PARTICIPANTS OF MINOR AGE (UNDER AGE 18 AT TIME OF REGISTRATION)

Each of the undersigned certifies that he and/or she is the parent or legal guardian with responsibility for the above minor Participant, and that he and/or she has read this Agreement and consents and agrees to its terms.  Each further agrees that, for him or her and for his or her heirs, assigns, beneficiaries, executors, administrators, personal representatives, and next of kin, the undersigned expressly releases and agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Released Parties from any and all liability related to or arising in connection with the Participant’s participation in or attendance at any Event as provided herein, EVEN IF ARISING FROM THE NEGLIGENCE OF THE RELEASEES, to the fullest extent permitted by law.

 

 

LVU Return to Training (RTT) Outlined and Explained

LVU is excited to return to in-person full team training beginning on, or after June 29th.  This is predicated upon the territories encompassing the Greater Lehigh Valley going “Green” on Friday, June 26th.  Per the state of Pennsylvania guidelines for amateur sports (LVU) in the “Green” phase, Recreational and amateur sports organizations and teams including, but not limited to, basketball, hockey, field hockey, football, soccer, swimming, baseball, softball, lacrosse, gymnastics, and kickball, are permitted to conduct in-person activities, including games and practices, in counties designated as being in the Green phase only if they strictly adhere to the requirements of this guidance, including the limits on total occupancy outlined below. For youth sports, refer to the CDC guidance on youth sports as well.” (https://www.governor.pa.gov/covid-19/sports-guidance/)

Although the way in which LVU reintegrates players and teams back to training is the responsibility of the club, LVU has enlisted the guidance and counsel of those associated with St. Luke’s Health Network, NCAA, EPYSA and US Soccer, to create a comprehensive plan for a return to training, and, ultimately, game and competition play called “Return to Training (RTT) Protocol.”

LVU will use the RTT Protocol to guide the process for which the membership returns to training.  Furthermore, the following 3 Week Training timeline was conceived by the LVU Coaching Staff and advisors for progression toward game and competition preparedness:

Week 1: June 29 – July 3; Social Distanced training laying the foundation and formalizing the LVU RTT Protocol, and US Soccer and CDC best practices guidelines. 

Week 2: July 6 – July 10; Social Distanced training with the reintegration of small amounts contact that, “limit the time players spend close to others by playing full contact only in game-time situations.” (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Considerations for Youth Sports, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/youth-sports.html)

Week 3: July 13 – July 17; Continued Social Distanced training with the reintegration of increased game-time situations preparing players and teams for games and competitions.

LVU Administration, Directors and Coaches agreed to the date of July 18** as the beginning of LVU’s Return to Competition.  Teams wishing to participate in competition play on, or after July 18 must have their requests to do so approved by LVU Directors.  Any exceptions to this date must be presented to and approved by LVU Directors.  **A formal LVU Return to Competition Protocol will be developed and enacted prior to July 18.

Much of the above timeline and progression planning was guided by US Soccer’s “Play On” Guidelines.  You can find excerpts of that document referenced below.

From US Soccer “Play ON” Guidelines (Phases 2 and 3 explained)

Phase II: Full Team Training

Suggested Duration: 3-6 weeks

Core features

• Full team training allowed

• Continue to maintain social distancing

• COVID-19 prevention and response protocols in place and followed

• Allow three (3) weeks for tracing and tracking purposes

During this phase, full team trainings are allowed, but COVID-19 prevention and response

protocols should continue to be maintained. A minimum three-week duration during this stage

allows for the ability to isolate and/or track any possible symptoms in individuals, and also

assures continued compliance in following the regulations and processes in place.

In the build-up to competitive play in the next phase (Phase III), there should be a continued

acclimatization process strategy to reduce possible injury risk.

Phase III: Full Team Competitions

Duration: Indefinite

Core features

• Full team competitions can occur

• Continue with COVID-19 mitigation strategies

• Consider local and single day competitions

• Large events should be guided by local and/or state public health authorities

During this phase, full team competitions such as tournaments may take place, as long as

mitigation strategies and processes for COVID-19 are being implemented. Teams are

recommended to only participate in local events and resist the urge to participate in events in

other regions that may require travel or overnight stays.

We look forward to seeing you back on the field soon!