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Prince William Girls Fastpitch Softball

Prince William Girls Fastpitch Softball

Coronavirus risk management

Covid safety updates April 2021, from safety commissioner Jeni Hatch:

Coaches,
We are thrilled opening day is quickly approaching, below you will see the COVID safety procedures we are following this season. There were a couple updates to them, so please review it prior to Opening Day. There will be lots of eyes on us making sure we are following county guidelines. These guidelines are what allow us to keep playing, so please work with your safety coordinator/assistant coach to make sure your team is following them. If you have any questions please reach out. I am here to support you. I look forward to another safe season. 

Three things I want to make sure I clarify:
1. Mask are required when NOT playing on the field. They are allowed to be worn while playing but NOT required. 
2. Dugouts will need to be sprayed down after each game (the coach will be given the disinfectant) No more than two people can be in the dugout at once so the assistant coach and next batter up. 
3. Players and their bags will be lined up along the fence outside of the dugout 6 feet apart. 

Team check-in required
• Teams will be responsible for pre-screening all players. This can be done through several different sports apps. The assigned safety coordinator for your team will be in charge of making sure the players are cleared prior to practice and or games. Reinforce with your team, that if they feel sick, stay home. 
• Players will be encouraged to follow a minimum of 6 feet social distancing. The county has not currently updated to reflect the CDC 3 feet, so we will abide by the 6 feet distance(This WILL be enforced so we can continue to use the fields) 
Please review these one more time before opening day to ensure we are prepared for a safe, fun season. Our successful season largely hinges on all of our compliance to these requirements. 

Teams
• Should not enter dugout until the other team exits and previous team has sanitized. We will not be using the dugouts. Teams will line up along the fence at a social distance. 
• Won't provide shared water. Players should bring their own.
• Coaches will have hand sanitizer available for their athletes.
• It is recommended that a designated adult assigned by the offensive team be responsible for picking up the bat after it is used. 
• Prohibited from pregame & postgame handshakes/high fives. Teams may line up on their respective foul lines and wave.
  Mask are REQUIRED while in the dugout and when not able to distance appropriately. *Players may wear the face mask while on the field but will NOT be required too.

Athletes 
• Masks must be of one color and not distracting (refer to USAS Uniform Rule).
• Masks should be neutral in color.
• Masks should have no designs on them.
• Mask WILL be worn in between games, following state guidelines. 
• No huddles. Player that gather at the circle should stay outside the circle, maintaining social distancing.
• No sharing of equipment (bats, helmets, catchers' gear etc.)

Previous updates

Major update to dugout requirements on Sept. 16, 2020:

The league has received new health guidelines from Prince William County that require us to enforce the presence of no more than FOUR players in the dugout at a given time. This is a major change that goes into effect immediately, again with both the players' safety and the preservation of the league's permits to keep playing in mind. Please discuss with your coach and safety coordinator who will be making sure your teams follow this during practices and games.

This won't affect teams much when they are in the field during a game, and likely wouldn't apply as they are entering or exiting. However, when the team is at bat, players will need to space out beyond the fenced-in part of the dugout. Jeni Hatch, the PWGFS safety coordinator, has marked the fences at Andrew Leitch Park with zip ties so players can spread their bags out and stand and watch. The dugouts, which have already been extended with a picnic table, have been extended further. The fields at Ali Krieger Sports Complex and Dale City Recreation Center will be modified as soon as possible to make this as easy as possible for everyone.

Players should continue to wear their facemasks for an extra layer of precaution when not on the field.

At practices, please use as much space as needed to spread out.

Parents and other spectators should continue to space out as they have been doing along the baselines and in the outfield.

Thank you so much for your continued cooperation, and for adapting to all the inconveniences so we can keep our 2020 season going for the girls.

PWGFS

Preseason:
No league can guarantee participation in sport without risk. But PWGFS does have a detailed plan to make as softball as safe as possible while attempting to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, and we'd like to share it with you here
:

Back to the Ballpark guidelines

The current coronavirus (also known as “covid-19”) pandemic has changed how industries across the world conduct business. We will continue to monitor and comply with government rules and guidelines. In the ever-changing landscape of this pandemic, we will be proactive in trying to limit these risks. Participants must recognize and acknowledge that while participating in a sport, there are inherent risks and, in many situations, social distancing of 6 feet per person among fellow participants or others is not always possible.

Recognizing that, and with the very nature of softball requiring physical interaction, we will take steps to protect you and your family, as well as protect the league against liability for coronavirus exposure claims. Parents and guardians will be required to sign a waiver before participating this season. Sound risk-management principles will help the league remain up and running so we can continue to serve your family and the community.

We are asking for the adults to cooperate, and take the lead in following these measures so we can keep the children — the whole reason we exist — safe.

BASICS:
• Communication leading up to games will include information on COVID-19, preventive measures and the procedures that PWGFS has established.
• Information on COVID-19 status in the area, physical distancing measures, mask requirements, limits on spectators and what the plan of action will be for suspected cases is available below, and/or by request at any time from a PWGFS board member.
• If players or parents are not feeling well, stay home.
• Participants exhibiting symptoms of possible exposure to COVID-19, such as fever, should not come to events or participate in the events until such time as the participant has been tested and/or cleared.
• Hand sanitizer will be available for all participants and spectators. Common areas will be cleaned between games.
• Spectators must use their own chairs and not the bleachers. Spectators will not be allowed to be in the dugout at any time.
• Volunteers will wear masks when they are in contact with spectators, participants, or coaches.

Read on for further detail:

Covid-19 adjustments

Restrictions on teams and spectators
We cannot stress enough that your complete cooperation will be required, not only to get back on the field, but to remain there the rest of the season. This season will be like no other and we all must remember what it has taken to get back playing again. Our actions will dictate how successful we are. Everyone must understand we will have a zero-tolerance policy. It has taken an incredible effort to get back in business and we will not allow anyone in the park to jeopardize the season or cause it to end prematurely.

Below is our “Safe Return to Play” plan.
1. Only uniformed players playing that day, three coaches, parent/guardian and siblings will be permitted in the park. Keeping human numbers low will be paramount. No other spectators will be allowed (grandparents, extended family members and friends, etc.). Our plan guarantees there will be no large groups of people gathering.
2. Current state regulations call for masks or cloth face coverings in public when close contact is unavoidable. While the regulations are in place, we will require masks or cloth face coverings when 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained -- for instance while working concessions. All spectators will be required to maintain minimum 3 feet, and preferable 6 feet, social distances.
3. All picnic tables and bleachers will be stacked in the storage area and will not be used. Spectators will need to bring their own personal chairs for seating.
4. Once a team has completed play, it will need to leave the park immediately. There will be no lingering to watch or scout other teams.
5. Each field area (benches, dugouts, gates, etc.) will be disinfected daily.
6. Between games, field maintenance personnel will sanitize the team bench and dugout.
7. Signage will be placed at all entrances and other locations around the park regarding social distancing and hygiene practices.

How long will these restrictions last?

• It’s unknown for how long we will need to enforce these measures.
• Once games begin and we understand any issues we find during play, we can evaluate any amendments.
• However, we cannot predict how the government will continue to restrict us. It’s unrealistic and perhaps also unwise to think in a matter of weeks we can go from maximum restrictions to pre-pandemic behavior.

Changes at the field complexes

Concessions
• Markers will be placed on the ground to ensure 6 feet social distancing between customers.
• All concessionaire workers will wear masks and gloves and be sure to utilize correctly to ensure there is no cross contamination. We will also collect money by exact change only, in dollars or quarters.
• Concession workers will be instructed that if they are exhibiting symptoms of possible exposure to COVID-19, such as fever, that they should not come to events or work until such time as the participant has been tested and/or cleared.

Bathrooms
• Disinfecting wipe containers should be installed for personal cleaning.

Field cleaning
• Dugouts will be sanitized in between games.
• All high-traffic areas will be sanitized on a regular basis throughout game day.
• If available, PA announcements will be made during each game with COVID-19 recommendations.
• Recommendations and rules will be posted throughout the complex.
• Workers and other participants will be instructed that if they are exhibiting symptoms of possible exposure to COVID-19, such as fever, that they should not come to events or work until such time as the participant has been tested and/or cleared.

Team check-in required
• Teams will be screened at a clearly designated location before every game or practice. If any symptoms of COVID-19 are present, the player will be dismissed immediately and will be required to be cleared with a negative COVID test before being allowed to participate again.
• The safety officer performing screenings will be required to wear a mask.
• Players will be encouraged to follow a minimum of 3 feet social distancing. (WHO guidelines June 4th 2020)

Team requirements

Teams
• Should not enter dugout until the other team exits and complex staff has sanitized.
• Won't provide shared water. Players should bring their own.
• Coaches will have hand sanitizer available for their athletes.
• It is recommended that a designated adult assigned by the offensive team be responsible for picking up the bat after it is used. This person should wear disposable gloves and may wipe down the bats after each use.
• Prohibited from pregame & postgame handshakes/high fives. Teams may line up on their respective foul lines and wave.

Athletes
• Allowed to wear masks during game, but not required.
• Masks must be of one color and not distracting (refer to USAS Uniform Rule).
• Masks should be neutral in color.
• Masks should have no designs on them.
• Recommended to wear masks in between games.
• No huddles. Player that gather at the circle should stay outside the circle, maintaining social distancing.
• No sharing of equipment (bats, helmets, catchers' gear etc.)

Coaches
• Recommended they wear masks, but not required.
• Masks must be of one color and not distracting.
• Masks should be neutral in color.
• Masks should have no designs on them.
• Coaches should stay outside the width of the batter’s box at the homeplate conference.
• Only one coach allowed during the conference.
• If coaches visit the pitcher, all other players should stay outside the pitching circle.

Coaches meeting/game balls
• One coach from each team and must stay 6 feet apart. Suggested to be the top outside corner of each batter’s box when available.
• Hand lineups to the umpire, and umpire verbally approve or asks any questions about the lineup.
• No athletes allowed.
• It is recommended lineup cards exchanged team-to-team and team-to-scorekeeper to be shared via photo or text.
• Multiple softballs will be in use during games and should be switched out every inning for sanitizing.
• Balls should be supplied still in wrappers or box and use new balls each game.
• If used balls are used as a backup, a wipe down before going into game play would be appropriate.

Warm-up recommendations
• Warm-ups should only take place beyond the fence while the field crew is preparing the field for play. At Andrew Leitch Park, the soccer field is available for warmups; please use it to give other teams a chance to exit.
• Teams waiting for games are encouraged to follow 6 feet social distancing guidelines.
• Teams should not enter the dugout until the other team exits and it has been sanitized.

Dugout procedure
• Teams will not enter dugout until the other team exits and it has been sanitized.
• The number of participants in the dugout is dependent on the size of dugout but must maintain minimum 3 feet social distance.
• Allow for players to be out of the dugout.
• Those out of the dugout should be behind the out of play fence.

Off-field guidelines

Parents/spectators
• Spectators and league staff are recommended to screen themselves at home prior to coming to the ballpark. If they have a temperature exceeding 100.4, they should stay home. They should also not come to the ballpark if they are known to have been recently exposed to someone with COVID-19.
• Spectators always recommended to wear masks and follow 6 feet social distancing guidelines.
• Spectators are recommended to use hand sanitizer upon entering the facility.
• Encouraged to bring their own sanitizing wipes for restroom/personal cleanliness.
• Parents must proactively monitor their own and anyone in their household’s health status. If anyone is not feeling well in family or has a temperature exceeding 100.4, no one should attend the event.
• Parents should consider limiting the number of family members who attend an event.
• Parents are responsible for water/sports drinks for their athletes in bottled format and making sure they are clearly marked/identified.
• Maintain 6 feet social distancing measures when entering, during games and leaving the venue.
• It is recommended that parents bring sanitizing wipes, sanitizer, and face masks.

Athletes/Coaches
• Always recommended to wear masks in between games.
• Required to follow minimum 3 feet social distancing guidelines.

Rules adjustments, and recommendations for umpires and field staff
Umpires
• Will be allowed to wear gloves.
• Will be allowed to wear a mask.
• Masks, if worn, should be neutral in color.
• Masks, if worn, should not have designs on them.
• Should provide their own hand sanitizer.
• May still check equipment before a game. (Bats must be outside dugout. Umpire may wear disposable gloves).
• Umpires are asked to wear masks and follow 6 feet social distancing guidelines in between games.
• While off the field, umpires should follow all league guidelines.

Rules
• Rule 4, Section C: Base coaches must stay 6 feet from a runner they wish to talk to during or after suspension of play.
• Rule 5 Section 7: Coaches holding defensive conference must stay on the home plate side of the pitcher’s circle and the player or players must
be on the opposite of the pitcher’s circle maintaining the 6 feet distance. No more than 2 players along with the pitcher allowed.
• Rule 5, Section 12A Dugout Conduct: Allow for players to be out of the dugout, behind the out-of-play fence.
• Rule 5, Section 12A: Players not allowed to leave dugout area to congratulate players when scoring or after home runs.
• Rule 6A, Section 6: No licking of fingers and wiping them off.

During the game:
• Use of verbal exchange from safe distance when making lineup changes from the Coach to scorer and opposing team.
• Umpire will maintain 6 feet from any player as a starting position when rotated and/or counter rotated.
• Umpires do not handle equipment on the field during play.
• Umpire-to-umpire and coach-to-umpire interaction must be 6 feet apart.
• Make sure catcher is 6 feet from the plate when umpire dusts off the plate.
• Huddles off the field with coaches and players need to maintain 6 feet social distancing.

DISCLAIMER: Participants, parents, family, and spectators engaging in softball and activities related to softball do so with knowledge of the risk and potential exposure involved and agree to accept any and all inherent risks to their personal health.

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