Last week, ASA announced updated COVID Protocols that required teams to cease all activities for 14 days from the last contact date to a reported positive COVID case.
While the CDC Guidelines still recommend 14 days, it has delegated the decision to reduce to 10 days based on local spread to “local public authority”. Over the past year plus, ASA and our member clubs have had to manage inconsistent governmental policies and enforcements from the myriad of county and city entities that we partner with. The intention for starting with 14 days was to align with the CDC and not have to manipulate changes if or when different government policies began to change.
However, after speaking with ASA clubs, members of the ASA Board of Directors, and hosting a working group with Club DOC’s, the ASA COVID Protocols are being updated as follows:
If a team reports a positive case or symptoms:
- All team activities will be suspended immediately.
- All team members will be “red-lined” for 10 days from the last contact date regardless of vaccination.
- Coaches or Team Officials who can provide proof of vaccination can continue to coach with other teams.
- Team members can resume training after day 7 of last contact, with a negative test on day 5 or later from last contact date. The team or players from the team will not be eligible to participate in any games until after day 10 from the last contact date.
- NOTE: This process will be managed and overseen by the club.
- If the player is reporting symptoms only, team activities can resume immediately if the test results are negative.
Also, if someone is identified as a “Close Contact Exposure”, from interactions outside of soccer and they haven’t been around the soccer team, they would follow the CDC guidelines regarding quarantining, but there would be no requirement to report anything to ASA and team activities may continue.
We are very mindful and intentional on not creating any guidelines regarding vaccination status of youth and the fact that there are no approved vaccinations for children under 12 years old. Instead of having multiple sets of “rules,” the defined protocols will apply to all players, regardless of vaccination status. This also ensures that the decision by parents regarding vaccination of their child remains individual and private.
In keeping with COVID and community safe recommendations, it is important that clubs and teams continue to remind their players, coaches, and families that:
- If you are sick or feel sick, STAY HOME
- At risk individuals, youth, or adult STAY HOME
- There should be no sharing of water or towels. Every player should bring their own water bottles.
- Sharing of equipment should be avoided. This includes, but not limited to:
- GK Gloves; GK’s should on use water on their gloves, never saliva.
- Shoes, Socks, or Shin Guards
- Practice Vest/Pinnies; At minimum should be washed after each use.
- No centralized hydration or refreshment stations
- Spectators should maintain appropriate social distancing and it is recommended to wear masks when social distancing isn’t maintained.
- Recommend having sanitizing options available. This may include:
- Hand sanitizer
- Disinfectant wipes to be used to wipe down all equipment
- Respect for each individual’s choices must be the top priority. If a participant wishes to wear a face mask this should be allowed, and accommodations made if needed
The entire ASA staff and Board of Directors take great pride in what Arizona has accomplished over the past year and a half. The recognition that Arizona has received is because together the soccer community has listened, been active, adjusted, and proactively worked to keep kids playing soccer. It’s critical that we continue working together to be the state that others strive to replicate.