Local Little League® programs throughout the United States and around the world are beginning to emerge from the quarantined change of lifestyle resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. There are many questions, and the answers continue to evolve as the battle against the virus continues and all our communities start to return over the summer months. For parents, grandparents, and guardians of Little Leaguers®, Your Voice is a way for you to share questions with Little League, and an opportunity for us to provide some important information and guidance. Over the past several weeks you have proposed a vast assortment of questions and we have assembled a comprehensive collection of FAQs. Here are the queries that parents should focus on. We invite you to share your thoughts, suggestions, and questions.
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Dylan from Connecticut – Since leagues can now practice and play games in many states, does Little League® have any tips for parents to help protect their kids before sending them to the field?
Little League – Little League® has developed a comprehensive list of best practices that are meant to help parents and leagues prepare for returning to play. The procedures that Little League recommends are based on suggestions from various health agencies, as well as local league and district officials. We are advising all our leagues to follow the guidelines set by the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and your state’s public health department (click here for a listing of state public health departments). The most important tip is for you is to keep your child at home if he/she feels sick. Little League’s general guidance also reflects the best practices and procedures for anyone who would be volunteering or attending a Little League game.
The most important thing that parents can do is follow common-sense hygiene, including thorough hand washing. Keep sick children home. Keep children home if a family member is sick or you suspect a chance of exposure. Remind your children that they are not able to share equipment or drinks and that high-fives and other common forms of celebration are not permitted.
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Erika from Louisiana – How do we know that our local Little League® is doing all it can to keep the children safe?
Little League – If a local Little League® has decided to play a season this summer, the top priority will be health, safety, and an enjoyable overall experience. The sole focus of any league should always be to provide the best opportunities for fun, while promoting community, sportsmanship, and individual accountability. This season add an even more obvious sense of personal wellness to the list. The extensive collection of best practices were developed to give any local league’s leadership the information needed to fulfill its commitment to the families and community it serves. Parents are strongly encouraged to get involved and be proactive. Reference your local league’s website and social media pages for current information and contact the local league directly through your child’s team manager, division vice president, or a member of the board of Directors. For inquires to be considered by Little League International, submit your question here.
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Jack from Connecticut – Are COVID-19 waivers going to be required for players who are returning to Little League play?
Little League – While not required from Little League International, your league may choose to utilize a COVID-19 waiver if they feel it is necessary in order for participants, families and fans to acknowledge that they will comply with local season resumption plans understand the risk , and accept/waive potential liability.
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Brittany from Iowa – Will my child need to wear a mask during games? Will the coaches and umpires be required to wear masks too?
Little League – Players should wear cloth face coverings when in close contact areas and in places where recommended social distancing is challenging or not feasible.
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Wylie from Colorado – Are there any proactive measures that families need to take as we return to play?
Little League – Yes. We are all looking forward to having fun at the field, and we want to do it safely. All individuals should measure their body temperature to ensure that no fever is present prior to participating or attending each Little League activity. Anyone with symptoms of fever, cough, or worsening respiratory symptoms, or any known exposure to a person with COVID-19 should not attend any Little League activity until cleared by a medical professional. Also, remember that players shouldn’t be sharing drinks or snacks, so make sure your player has their own drinks and are clearly labeled. When it is necessary to share critical or limited equipment, all surfaces of each piece of shared equipment must be cleaned first and then disinfected with an EPA-approved disinfectant against COVID-19 and allowed enough time to dry before used by a new player. Increased attention should be paid to detailed cleaning of all equipment directly contacting the head and face (catcher’s mask, helmets).
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Brandon from North Carolina – Are parents able to attend games and practices?
Little League – We all want to support our children and root them on. For practices, it is recommended that at this time, to drop off and leaving your child in the care of the adult coaches. This allows coaches to focus on the safety of their players, reduces the number of people in an area, and make it easier to follow social distancing guidelines. Generally, for games, leagues should do their best to limit the number of people at a site, practice social distancing, and spectators should wear masks. More best practices can be found at LittleLeague.org/2020ReturntoPlay. Certainly, these guidelines can be adjusted by the local league as the summer progresses, in accordance with state and local recommendations.