New Youth Sports Regulations Kick in Monday. When Will Full Rules for Schools Be Released?

A spokesperson for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education told NBC10 Boston they plan to release guidance on youth sports this week

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New state guidance takes effect Monday outlining what youth and adult amateur sports activities will be allowed to take place during the current phase of the state's reopening plan. But additional guidelines are expected this week.

The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs said last week that its guidance "applies to K-12 school and other youth sports activities," but the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association said in a statement posted to Twitter that it is awaiting "accompanying guidelines from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education."

A spokesperson for the said Department of Elementary and Secondary Education told NBC10 Boston that they plan to release guidance on youth sports sometime this week. Until then, the MIAA is in wait-and-see mode.

The document released last week categorizes sports into three levels of COVID-19 transmission risk, based on the amount of close contact required or expected, with different limitations for each.

Lower-risk activities, like tennis, golf, gymnastics and cross country, can hold individual or socially distanced group activities, competitive practices, competitions and outdoor tournaments.

For the other two risk levels, competitive practices and competitions are only allowed with modifications in place. They can participate in individual or distanced activities like non-contact workouts, aerobic conditioning and drills the way the sport is traditionally played.

Sports including baseball and softball, team swimming, volleyball and field hockey are deemed moderate risk.

The higher-risk category includes football, basketball, competitive cheer, ice hockey and ultimate Frisbee.

Youth sports getting back to practice is part of Phase 3, but not all sports will be allowed to have games.

“I think they’re trying to keep us all safe. But I think some of them can go to extremes," said Cesar Salazar, director of the Revere Bolts soccer program. "We don’t want to go to extremes because kids need to keep moving. Kids should keep working.”

Salazar is training over 150 of his players to wear masks while playing.

“With the conditions of the game, to wear a mask will be very difficult,” he said.

BC High football coach Jonathan Brillo doesn't even know if his team will have a season.

Football is considered a high-risk sport and has a number of state-issued provisions that would make the contact sport difficult to play.

“It’s very hard to look at a young teenage kid and tell them that you don’t know what his future is going to hold for the time being,“ Brillo said.

But at this time, the second year head coach thinks a missed or delayed season is the safest bet.

“It’s going to be very tough," he said. "I think it's a safe move, I think it's the right move at this point.”

State House News Service contributed to this report.

NBC10 Boston and State House News Service
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