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Western North Carolina's
Home for Youth Soccer

Western North Carolina's
Home for Youth Soccer

Covid-19 Safety Protocols

OVERVIEW (January 10, 2021)
As we begin Spring 2021 ABYSA/HFC soccer programs, it is essential that we all work together to ensure the continued safety of our players and families. The guidelines and protocols below allowed us to serve over 1500 youth this past fall without a single known case of Covid-19 transmission between players. With the collective commitment from staff, coaches, parents and players, we can continue providing programming in an environment that is low-risk for Covid-19 transmission. For the next several months we ALL need to “double down” on safety so our players can continue to reap the health and social benefits of playing soccer with their teams.

It is essential that player families communicate with our staff when there is a positive Covid-19 test, or exposure to someone who tested positive, with your player. If your player tests positive, or has an exposure, please email your team coach, the Director of Coaching for your program, and the ABYSA Covid-19 Coordinator [email protected] as soon as possible.
The ABYSA Coordinator will work with you to make sure that you, and ABYSA, receive guidance from the Buncombe County Health Department regarding the appropriate quarantine and contact tracing protocols based on your specific circumstances. It is important that you report this information to ABYSA even if you have already received guidance from the health department, your school nurse, or other health care provider. If other members of your player’s team or program need to be notified, this will be done by the health department or their designee. It will only be done by ABYSA if we are instructed to do so by the health department.
It is important that we all follow the health department’s instructions. This process worked extremely well during our fall season. In nearly every case where we had a positive test within a team, the health department determined that this did not represent an “exposure” to other team members. This decision, however, needs to be made by the experts at Buncombe County Department of Health and Human Services based on their review of the relevant facts. We must do our part to minimize the spread of Covid-19 and keep each other safe and healthy.

Beginning on Monday, January 18th, ABYSA will publish the number of positive test cases we have, within each HFC program, during the preceding week. The number will include players, staff and coaches that participated in HFC activities during a period that they may have been contagious. This is similar to the reporting that schools in Buncombe County are providing to families. A link to this information will be emailed to families on January 18th and interested parents can check back each week to see the numbers.
A similar reporting mechanism will be established for ABYSA Recreation when that program restarts in March
In the fall, during over 4 ½ months of practices and games, we had less than a dozen cases of a player testing positive and not a single case where there was suspected transmission between players on a team. While this speaks well to the safety profile of soccer, and our collective efforts in following safety protocols, we feel it is important to make information about the amount of infection detected in players available to parents so they can make informed decisions about participation.

*Parents and Players must self-assess: Players MUST NOT attend practice  or games if they exhibit any symptoms of illness or have been exposed to anyone exhibiting symptoms in the last 14 days.  
*Any player that has been sick must be symptom free for 14 days before returning or have been released from quarantine by the Buncombe County Department of Health and Human Services or their health care provider.
*Parents and Players are responsible for player temperature checks at home before attending training or games.
*Players will wear a mask covering their mouth and nose at all times, including during active play, unless they are exempt from the North Carolina Mask Mandate due to a medical condition or age. Parents are responsible for advising their team coach or program director if their player will not be wearing a mask due to an exemption.
 *Players will practice social distancing, staying at least 6 feet apart from others, whenever possible. This includes ANY time that they are not involved in active play that requires them to be closer than 6 feet.
*Players will avoid spitting, and cough or sneeze into their elbow, if necessary.
*Every player MUST bring their own water bottle. 
*Players will bring, and use, hand sanitizer for personal hygiene. 
*Players will not touch or share anyone else's equipment, water, food or bags. 
*Players should wash hands thoroughly before coming to and upon returning home from soccer.
*Parents play an important role in assuring that players understand the importance of following safety protocols and in assisting in self-assessing for symptoms.    

*Parents must complete and sign the ABYSA/NCYSA COVID-19 liability form before their child participates in any ABYSA/HFC activities.
*Parents are responsible for player temperature check, and the three-question symptom survey below, before attending training or games. 

Symptom Survey: 
Have you had close contact (within 6 feet for at least 15 cumulative minutes) in the last 14 days with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, or has any health department or health care provider been in contact with you and advised you to quarantine?  
            Yes: The player/coach should not participate. The individual can return 14 days after the last time they had close contact with someone with COVID-19, or as listed below. 
            No: The player/coach can participate if they are not experiencing symptoms. 
Since you last played, have you had any of these symptoms?
If a player has any of these symptoms, they should go home, stay away from other people, and have a guardian call their health care provider:
            Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing 
            New cough 
            New loss of taste or smell 
Since you last played, have you been diagnosed with COVID-19?  
            Yes: If a player/coach is diagnosed with COVID-19 based on a test or their symptoms or does not get a COVID-19 test but has had symptoms, they should not play and stay at home until they have completed the recommended quarantine. 
            No: The player/coach can participate if they are not experiencing symptoms. 

*Parents are responsible for transporting their player to and from practice and games. NCYSA and CDC recommend no carpooling at this time. 
*Parents will keep their player in their cars until the designated practice or game time.
 *Parents should remain at the field during their players training or game. In the event of dangerous weather, it will not be possible to place players in a safe environment and they will need to go to their car immediately. 
*Parents/siblings must stay in their car during their player’s practice  session or adhere to social distance requirements. 
*Parents/siblings MUST wear a mask at the facility when outside of their car. Parents and spectators that cannot wear a mask, due to an exception, should not be outside of their car at our facilities at this time.
*Parents need to support Coaching Directors and Coaches if safety rules are violated and their player is disciplined. While we will strive to teach players in a positive environment, we need your help to ensure that training is safe and players take rules seriously. Players that are not able or willing to comply with safety protocols may be asked to not return to ABYSA/HFC until safety rules can be relaxed. 
*Parents should not enter the practice playing area unless asked to do so by a staff member or designated volunteer.  
*Each player may have only two spectators in attendance for games. This is necessary for compliance with current outdoor mass gathering regulations in North Carolina. Parents should adhere to all other game day protocols for spectators as they are communicated.
*Due to limited parking, and social distancing requirements, families need to leave quickly after their players practice session or game. 
*Parents are responsible for the sanitation of their player’s personal equipment. 
*Parents MUST NOTIFY the club immediately if their player tests positive for Covid-19 or has an exposure to a person who has tested positive. This should be communicated to [email protected], your team coach, and to your program Director of Coaching. 
*Parents will ensure that their player has water, hand sanitizer, and a mask at each practice session and game. 
*Children who are at high risk for complications due to COVID-19 should not participate in training at this time. 

*Coaches must self-assess and monitor temperature as described in the player and parent sections above.
*Coaches will enforce the mask mandate for all players who have not been reported to be exempt by their parent or guardian.
*Coaches will help players maintain social distance protocols at all times. 
*Coaches will use cones or other markings that help maintain social distancing during the practice sessions and games. 
*Coaches will make sure players are not sharing water bottles and other restricted equipment.
*Coaches will wear a face mask. If the mask needs to be removed, the coach will move further away from the group to be a distance of no less than 15 feet.
*Coaches will maintain social distance whenever possible. There may be circumstances (i.e. player injury) where social distancing is not appropriate. 
*Coaches will maintain safety protocols, including disciplining non-compliant players, in a positive manner whenever possible, and provide the leadership needed for a safe and fun environment. 

*Provide COVID-19 safety protocols and updates to members. 
*Ensure that parents have signed COVID-19 liability forms prior to any child's participation.  
*Train and educate staff, players and volunteers on responsibilities and protocols and update these to be consistent with best practices for safety. 
*Support coaches and staff in their enforcement of safety protocols with all members attending practice sessions and games, including decisions made to restrict non-compliant players or adults from attending future activities. 
*Provide communication channels for parents to report positive Covid-19 tests and exposures and follow guidelines and instructions provided by health department officials when positive tests or exposures are discovered.    


Contact Us:

Asheville Buncombe Youth Soccer Association, Inc.

ABYSA/HFC PO Box 895 Asheville NC 28802-0895 

[email protected]

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