Friday afternoon Governor Andy Beshear announced guidelines specific to the return of youth sports in Kentucky. These guidelines only pertain to youth sports. The KHSAA will meet next week before it issues recommendations for high school athletes. Instead of combing through the 10-page document, allow KSR to outline some of the specifics.
As the plans continue to develop, these are the sports that fall under each category developed by the state.
Low-Touch, Outdoor Sports — Track and field, biking, tennis, golf, mini-golf, horseback riding, and cross-country, and baseball/softball/teeball.
Low-Touch, Indoor Sports — Gymnastics, swimming, diving, bowling, solo-dance/solo-ballet, tap-dance, and archery.
All low-touch youth sports may resume practices June 15. Practices must be held in small groups of only ten youths with one adult coach per group. The following high-touch sports are limited to physical fitness training in groups of ten on June 15.
High-Touch, Outdoor Sports — Football, soccer, lacrosse, flag football and field hockey.
High-Touch, Indoor Sports — Karate/martial arts, basketball, cheerleading, tandem or team dance, ice hockey, volleyball, fencing and wrestling.
Low-Touch Indoor and Outdoor Sports may resume competitions with up to 50 spectators present, all of which must adhere to social distancing guidelines.
High-Touch Indoor and Outdoor Sports can advance to the next phase, participating in practices that limit scrimmages and competition with one coach for every ten youths. These practices should not be considered “full contact.” When competitions may resume in high-touch sports has yet to be determined.
Stations — Instead of mixing kids within the team, exposure can be limited by operating drills in stations.
No High-Fives — Replace the fist bumps with tips of the cap, salutes or another sign of respect.
No Traveling — Keep the competitions within your local neighborhood, community or township.
Do Not Share Equipment when Possible — This is one of the most difficult asks. To throw a baseball, more than one person must touch the ball. However, they do not need to share bats, hats, helmets or water bottles. Coaches should search for creative alternatives to limit physical contact on equipment.
Stagger Arrival and Limit Carpooling — This will be the most difficult ask for parents. The state is asking you not to pick up six kids and drive them in a tiny van. Coaches also need to coordinate practice times, allowing more time between events to promptly enter and exit the field, limiting potential contact between teams.
Bye, Bye Dugouts — Areas like dugouts and locker rooms where social distancing cannot be followed should be eliminated.
Sanitize — Before, during and after events. To ensure athletes are not using soiled equipment, designate separate areas for clean and potentially infected equipment. Think of it as laundry — one pile for clean equipment, another for dirty equipment. Cleaning stations should be available to clean equipment and areas, as well as for the athletes.
Coaches, Cover Your Face — This applies at all times to adults and kids when they are not actively participating.
This is just a brief outline of the recommendations. Click here to read more specifics to ensure kids can safely return to sports.