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St. Louis County updates youth sports guidelines

The changes allow young athletes to practice their skills more, but competitive games are still banned

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — St. Louis County has updated its guidelines for youth sports to give some athletes a better chance at honing their skills. However, games are still banned due to coronavirus concerns.

County Executive Sam Page discussed the changes Monday morning, saying the county wanted to provide more guidance as high schools prepare for fall sports.

The updated guidelines separate high-frequency contact sports from low-frequency contact sports. High-contact sports include baseball, basketball, football, soccer, softball and volleyball. Low-contact sports include golf, running, swimming, tennis and track. You can see the full list on St. Louis County’s website.

The number of players allowed to practice drills with each other doubles from 10 players to 20. Multiple groups will be allowed to practice on a field at the same time, but they must remain in their groups and can’t come into contact with one another.

RELATED: St. Louis County councilman requests data linking COVID-19 cases to youth sports

Games between teammates and other teams are still banned.

“It still does not allow for competitions, or fans, or team meetings, or team social events or any of those events that we identified several weeks ago as high risk for our youth,” Page explained.

Even though young athletes can compete, Page said the updated guidelines will help players maintain and develop their skills.

“We want to allow skill development to continue as much as possible and as safe as possible,” he said.

St. Louis County gave the following details on its updated guidelines.

Restrictions and requirements for high-frequency of contact sports:

  • Team workouts and practices are allowed with restrictions.
  • Team contact drills are allowed but only in groups of 20 athletes or fewer.
  • Two coaches are permitted in addition to the group of 20 or fewer athletes.
  • Each group of athletes, not to exceed 20 per group, must remain in a separate single space from another group of athletes at any one time. Any single space must have a minimum of a 20-foot barrier from any other single space. No person is allowed within that 20-foot barrier. The 20-foot barrier should be clearly marked, and such demarcation shall be indicated by a wall, tape or cones.
  • NO games or scrimmages are permitted.
  • NO tournaments, performances, competitions, or showcases are permitted.
  • Social distancing should be maintained as much as possible during practice.
  • The practice groups must remain the same every day to reduce the amount of exposure for each child.
  • Masks/face coverings MUST be worn anytime an individual is not doing vigorous physical activity.
  • Coaches MUST remain in mask/face coverings at all times.
  • Players and coaches should sanitize hands and equipment regularly.
  • Wearing masks before activities and immediately following activities is required, especially prior to screening.
  • Every individual, including coaches, must be screened every day.
  • No spectators are allowed.
  • No two teams should be in the same location at one time. If the same field, gym, or enclosed room will be used in the same day by more than one team, teams must allow sufficient time between sessions to clean the area. No team shall use a field, gym, or similar enclosed room on the same day another team has used any of those locations unless proper cleaning has occurred after the previous team’s use. This cleaning requirement shall also apply to groups of up to 20 athletes using the same single space as another group of up to 20 athletes even if those groups comprise one team.
  • All equipment (such as bats, sticks, helmets, sleds, etc.) must be disinfected between individual uses.

Restrictions and requirements for all low-frequency of contact sports:

  • Full team practices and intra-squad scrimmages are permitted with restrictions.
  • Masks/face coverings MUST be worn anytime an individual is not doing vigorous physical activity.
  • Coaches MUST wear face coverings at all times.
  • All equipment (such as bats, sticks, helmets, sleds, etc.) must be disinfected between individual uses.
  • No spectators are allowed.

St. Louis County on its website has listed the full guidelines, including the safety measures that should be followed for all sporting events, screening procedures and enforcement details.