Select team sports will be allowed to resume this summer with restrictions to limit the potential of COVID-19 transmission.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the state directives for community and school team sports during the Thursday, May 21 press brief. According to Hutchinson, limited contact team sports will be allowed to practice and compete this summer, starting June 1. These sports include baseball, softball, track, gymnastics and swimming.
However, team practice and competition is prohibited for close-contact sports, such as basketball, wrestling, football, volleyball, soccer and martial arts. Individual practice with a person’s own equipment is allowed and conditioning and training is allowed with limited group size and social distancing.
“We will revisit those guidelines and those sports June 30,” Hutchinson said. “This is not a permanent state in regards to those sports, but it is where we are right now.”
This directive applies only to school team sports in grades K-12. Intercollegiate sports are not included in the directive; Hutchinson said that these sports would be a “different conversation.”
Individuals participating in athletics events, from athletes to coaches to other staff members, are advised to maintain physical distance whenever possible. Face coverings will be required for everyone 10 years of age or older. Coaches and staff will be required to wear coverings at all times, while athletes will be allowed to remove them while participating in the sports activity.
“We want the coaches and staff to set a good example for the young people so they take the health risks seriously, as well,” Hutchinson said.
Athletes, coaches and staff will also be asked about fever, symptoms and exposure when participating in sports activities. There will be temperature for coaches and staff.
Facility use will be restricted during this time. Showers will be prohibited at facilities, and locker rooms may only be used for storage. Equipment and facilities should be frequently sanitized, according to the directive. The directive for gyms apply to training facilities, and the directive for venues and dining applies to athletic event facilities.