In my household, the return of dirty baseball pants, empty water bottles, and the search for uniforms on game day has never been more welcome. The return to some semblance of normal for the couple of hours the kids get to see friends, be active and have fun playing baseball and softball has truly been a joy to watch.
The volunteers that help make our league run -- our board members, coaches, parent helpers, and safety coordinators -- have put in long hours to ensure that we are able to enjoy watching our kids play, while maintaining a safe environment in light of the ongoing pandemic.
Our status as an officially chartered league with Little League International requires us to follow the guidance of our parent organization, while also adhering to state, county and township health policy and guidance. There is absolutely no wiggle room on this and we will remain committed to ensuring we follow all of the guidance thoroughly.
Our safety plan has been shared with all of you, and every member has signed a waiver form. Thank you for taking the time to read and follow that plan and reinforce it with your sons and daughters. In order for us to successfully finish out our season, it will remain critical that our safety plan is adhered to at all times. I've had the opportunity to visit other leagues and fields over the past two weeks, and I can tell you that our coaches are doing a tremendous job of ensuring the kids have fun, while adhering to our safe play guidelines. Please continue to support them in doing so. Some critical points to reinforce:
1. Please do not send your child to a practice/game if they are exhibiting ANY symptoms at all associated with COVID-19. Please do not send your child to a practice/game if they've been in contact with anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19. In both instances, please inform your coach so that we may take the appropriate precautions and discuss a safe return to play plan.
2. Following the guidance of the CDC and PA Health Department, our coaches all wear masks, specifically when they are in close contact with the children. We ask our spectators to do the same at all times. We have roped off extended dugout areas at all of our fields (and will be providing additional seating for the kids) so that 6 feet of distance between kids can be managed in dugout areas. If we cannot maintain 6 feet, or we are having trouble keeping the kids apart, we will look to augment our current plan with dugout masking.
3. Please send your child with their own hand sanitizer if possible and encourage them to use it. We also have hand sanitizer at each field.
4. Coaches have access to disinfectant spray as well and are using it regularly on frequently touched surfaces.
5. Children should all have their own equipment and no sharing of bats/helmets/gloves/other equipment is permitted. Game balls are not shared between competing teams and are changed frequently. Umpires are masked and behind the pitchers mound.
I know there are differing opinions on the balance of these safety precautions and allowing the kids to experience normalcy. While I appreciate those differences, when at the fields we will enforce the above guidelines at all times. Our absolute best chance of being able to play out our planned season is to continue to stay focused on safety.
If you have any questions or concerns; have seen something at the fields that makes you uncomfortable or isn't aligned with our safety plan -- please contact me directly to discuss.
Thank you again for your help in making this a successful -- and safe -- baseball/softball season.