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Youth sports practices begin Monday with COVID guidelines

Jan 04, 2021 07:15AM ● By Editor

Watch the KARE 11 News Report here

Watch the KARE 11 News Report here

Photo: KARE 1 News

By Diane Sandberg of KARE 11 - January 4, 2021

After COVID cut many youth sport seasons short last year, teams can return to their respective fields Monday, Jan. 4 when high school practices resume.

The first games and scrimmages are allowed to begin 10 days later, on Thursday, Jan. 14. 

The Minnesota Department of Health has published a list of recommendations for high school athletics, including keeping players in small "pods," wearing a mask whenever possible and distancing from team members when waiting on the bench. 

According to MDH guidelines, there are limited exceptions for some sports, including wrestling (where masks could become a choking or visual hazard), certain gymnastics and cheerleading routines (where face coverings could get caught on objects) and swimming and diving. 

Each team must implement a COVID-19 plan, spectators will be banned from practices and may be limited at games. 

The health department also recommends that coaches focus more on individual drills during the first few weeks of practice in order to limit contact as much as possible before moving to team-based drills.  

Players should avoid locker rooms and showers, and “carpooling should be discouraged as much as possible,” according to the guidelines. 

Once games resume on Jan. 14, spectators will be limited based on the size of the venue. Concessions and entertainment are not allowed.

"The decision to resume sports does not mean engaging in sports is without risk," the guidance states. "Any time you gather with other people, you are putting yourself and others at risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. COVID-19 can lead to serious medical conditions and even death for people of all ages. We cannot predict who will become severely ill, although we know that older people and people with underlying health conditions are at higher risk. We do not yet know what the long-term effects of COVID-19 are; even people with mild cases may experience long-term complications. People with symptoms and without symptoms can spread COVID-19. The masking, distancing, and other guidance provided here is intended to reduce the risk of transmission, but does not eliminate it."

To see the original report and read related sports stories, follow this link to the KARE 11 News website.