Return To Play Protocols
2020 > Present
The below are return to play protocols the Vipers will be/ are implementing due to CoVid 19. Ultimately in a sport such as ours a lot of the responsibility will fall on the players (and parents via education) to ensure they are adhering to them. Our coaches cannot supervise all activity and all interactions at all times. Parent education and cooperation is vital in the education of our athletes. Coaches will be working diligently to ensure these are followed, however all activities of all players at all times cannot be monitored by our staff.
May, 2021: We will not require the use of face mask/PPE coverings both indoors or outdoors. PPE/ face mask coverings will be a matter of personal choice. We will no longer require a CoVid questionnaire prior to any events, unless tournament or event specific. The responsibility to inform the organization falls on each player and family.
August, 2021: This is a moving target and different jurisdictions, vaccination requirements seem to rule the everyday world. Information can be overloaded and conflicting. The NJ Vipers will weigh any and all state/ local mandates and make decisions accordingly. Absent any official mandates, we believe our player and family health choices are theirs to make.
Note: There are no supplemental or team specific protocols outside of this document.
- All Parents/ guardians must sign the CoVid Waiver to be eligible. No Exception. N/A May 2021
- Questionnaire must be completed on the day of any event and submitted. Failure to do so will result in player ineligibility. N/A May 2021
- Follow all published local and state guidelines for facilities and events.
- Parents will be asked from time to time to sign waivers and Hold Harmless Agreements for field use that towns and municipalities may require. Failure to do so, if required by town/municipality will result in player ineligibility to participate at that venue.
- Players need to "spread out"; expand the dugout area when room permits and only if player safety will not be compromised. Expansion of the team dugouts should not be done into foul ball areas. Bench / coach personnel will be maxed at 3. Players are required to social distance at 6 feet at all times.
- Dugouts are considered a high traffic area. Crowding must be avoided and social distancing must be respected.
- The 3rd coach in the dugout will be our Social Distance/ Safety ambassador. Their role, in addition to game coaching, is to ensure social distancing is occurring, masks are worn and reasonable precautions are occurring. May, 2021: common sense must prevail and correlate with state/cdc specifics on distancing for whatever the published opinions are of the time. They have varied
- Parents need to supply their players with antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer for disinfecting playing equipment and cleaning hands between
innings & games. Players should be sanitizing their hands every inning or at every break. See below for recommended items each player carry. May, 2021: Personal choice
- Players can consider purchasing their own bucket to sit on during game and house their equipment to keep out of the way of others if that is important to them.
- Parents cannot be near or in dugout and must social distance. This is not just CoVid related but overall protocol related. Parents must also stay within designated viewing areas or at least 30 feet from a practice field. May, 2021: distance from field is N/A
- Shared equipment is not encouraged and should be avoided at all times unless sanitary and precautionary steps are taken. Players are responsible for their own bats, gloves, batting gloves, catching equipment, protective softball face masks, etc... Failure to bring required equipment may result in in player not participating until they have their own equipment
- Practice equipment such as bownets should be set up/ dismantled by coaching staff.
- Coaches and players can wear PPE items, including face masks if they choose, as long as the items do not compromise the safety of any and all participants in the game. If players choose to wear PPE during active play they do so at their own choice and risk or safety, based on perspective.
- Players and coaches must wear face masks while on bench & during down times. Coaches who are in the coaches box can wear them while there; if they can be 6' away they can pull down. May, 2021: N/A
- Teams need to clean their practice area (at facility/practice fields) or dugout (games) of all trash and other items and
wipe down (clean) hard surfaces such as benches, bat racks, etc.
- Upon arriving at a dugout for the first time, teams are encouraged to disinfect hard surface areas
(benches, bat racks, etc.).
- High fives, handshakes and hugs should not be used as they are not permitted. May, 2021: TBD and discretion
- Post game handshakes are not recommended...a waive and sportsmanlike acknowledgement will suffice
- NO food of any kind in dugouts. This includes but is not limited to seeds, candy, breakfast bars, sandwiches, etc....
- Personal items EVERY player should have in their bag (or bucket):
- ice packs
- Hand Sanitizer
- Anti-Bacterial Wipes
- Band Aids
- Athletic Tape
- Water Spritz bottles / Cold Packs for cooling
- Plastic Gloves
- Coaches meeting at home plate should be limited to one coach, if allowed.
- Coaches should create verbal or sign triggers for their players.
- Balls that go outside of the field of play. Should be retrieved by a coach or player, not a fan, spectator or parent. May, 2021: N/A
- Limit same time entrance/ exits as much as possible
When should athletes and coaching staff stay home and when they can return to activity.
1. We actively encourage sick staff, families, and players to stay home. Players and coaches should have no fear of reprisal should an event be missed due to sickness/ Co-Vid reasons.
2. Individuals, including coaches, players, and families, should stay home if they have tested positive for or are showing COVID-19 symptoms.
3. Individuals, including coaches, players, and families, who have recently had a close contact with a person with COVID-19 should also stay home and monitor their health.
4. We will immediately separate coaches, staff, and athletes with COVID-19 symptoms at any sports activity. Individuals who have had close contact with a person who has symptoms should not be attending games or practices and if discovered, will be separated and sent home. We will follow CDC guidance for community-related exposure.
5. Should a player be identified as displaying or stating they feel CoVid symptoms...the parent/ guardian of the player will be the only person permitted to take their player home or to a healthcare facility.
Should anything be observed that may be of interest to the coaching staff, please bring it to their attention, as well as ownership in a proactive and positive manner. Coaches, players & parents are all evolving together in this environment we are in. We must collaborate, work together and communicate together.
These activities are represented in good faith and are best effort based. Our coaches are not health care professionals and work in collaboration with the organization and the players/parents.
- Our indoor facility will maximize capacity at 25 persons, including players & coaches. This is subject to state requirements should there be a state mandate.
- Coach(es) will enter from rear door. Open garage door (weather permitting) and allow entry of players only one by one from front (glass) door. Garage door should be open at any and all times of usage, weather permitting May, 2021: N/A
- Facility training is "Drop and Go". No parents are permitted inside the facility to watch practice. Observation, if possible, can be from outside via the open garage door.
- Coaches are to ask upon entering re: CoVid Questionnaire. Any child with a temperature at or above 100.4 will be turned away. May, 2021: N/A
- Social Distancing should be observed if possible. This is the responsibility of the players and the coaches. Due to the nature of our game there will be training events that will bring players < 3-6 feet at times.
- Players/ coaches can voluntarily wear masks during softball activity if desired. We will not mandate.
- Coaches/ Players should err on the side of caution regarding any and all protocols.
- These activities are represented in good faith and are best effort based. Our coaches are not health care professionals and work in collaboration with the organization and the players/parents.
This is an evolving document and list.
NJ Vipers 6/16/20
Updated March, 2021
Note: Everything listed above and herein will be followed in good faith and to the best of our ability. In this new era of protocols and protection, we ask for solutions based recommendations and suggestions to allow all parties to play safely.