Return To Play Protocols
2020 > Present
Note: The organization will manage to current guidelines and protocols as best it can. Ultimately, participation, personal risk and individual health in whatever environment must be managed and decided by the individual player along with their parents/ physician.
The below are return to play protocols the Vipers will be/ are / have been implementing/ implemented 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.
All parents and players, upon onboarding the organization, acknowledged & agreed to the risks of CoVid-19, other communicable viruses and the inherent risks of softball and its activities.
PPE/ face mask coverings will be a matter of personal choice unless state/ venue mandated.
We 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.
The NJ Vipers considers any and all state/ local mandates and makes 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 upon registration. No Exception.
- Vipers 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 should "spread out" to extent possible to allow for current social distancing requirements;
- Dugouts are considered a high traffic area. Crowding suggested to be avoided if possible.
- The 3rd coach in the dugout should be aware of Safety. Their role, in addition to game coaching, is to ensure player readiness and safety are prioritized.
- Parents should 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 regularly
- 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. This is not just CoVid related but overall protocol related.
- Shared equipment is not encouraged. 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. (unless state/ venue mandated).
- Players and coaches can wear face masks while on bench & during down times if they choose.
- 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.
- High fives, handshakes and hugs should be used at coach discretion.
- Post game handshakes are discretion
- 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
- Contact Solution
- Hair Bands
- Water Spritz bottles / Cold Packs for cooling
- Plastic Gloves
- Coaches meeting at home plate should be limited to one coach, if allowed. The Vipers do not ave captains and do not bring players to the lineup exchange.
- Coaches should create verbal or sign triggers for their players.
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. Same holds true for other instances, ie. flu symptoms, strep throat, etc...
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 CoVid-19 or symptoms needs to adhere to current CDC guidelines.
5. Should a player be identified as displaying or stating they feel CoVid symptoms...the parent/ guardian of the player should be the only person permitted to take their player home (unless coach receives approval from parent/ guardian) 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 about 30 players + Coach(es). This is subject to change via state requirements/ should there be a state mandate limiting capacity.
- Facility training is "Drop and Go". No parents are permitted inside the facility to watch practice. Our space is limited and the traffic flow does not permit this. Observation, if possible, can be from outside via the open garage door should weather permit the door to be open and the coaches feel it can be given their agenda for the session.
- Players/ coaches can voluntarily wear masks during softball activity if desired. We will not mandate unless government mandates require. THE VIPERS DO NOT HAVE A VACCINE REQUIREMENT.
- Coaches/ Players should err on the side of caution regarding any and all protocols and personal choices during sessions.
- If players/ coaches feel ill or symptomatic of Covid-19 or any other illness, they should not be attending until symptoms dissipate or doctor clearance.
- 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.
- Garage Door should be open if weather permits...coach's judgment.
- Exhaust Fan must be on
- Front door can be open, coach's judgment, weather permitting
This is an evolving document and list.
NJ Vipers 6/16/20
Updated March, 2021
Updated (and added new CDC Links) 12/27/21
Note: There are no known contradictions and 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.
Individual choice and risk tolerance lies with the individual.
Acts of God. In the event that The Organization is unable to meet its representations because of acts of God, equipment or transmission failure or damage beyond its reasonable control, or other causes beyond its reasonable control (Earthquakes, Blizzards, extreme weather, Tornadoes, Extremely high tides, Floods, Hurricanes, Lightning storms, Hail, Volcanic eruptions, Death), The Organization shall not be liable to any other party for any damages resulting from such failure to perform or otherwise from such causes.