Summer 2021: Return to Competition
This document should be considered as providing recommendations from the IHSAA for member schools and may be updated before and during the summer 2021 season.
Recommendations are from the IHSAA for its member schools and should not supersede guidelines, mandates, requirements, and/or orders put into place by the Iowa Governor’s Office, Iowa Department of Public Health, Iowa Department of Education, Federal/local/county government entities, Federal/local/county health department or local school districts. Local rules are at the discretion of the host school and should be clearly communicated to all participants in advance of competition.
People (participants, coaches, officials, spectators, etc.) feeling sick or that have been exposed to someone sick, should not attend or participate in competitions or practices. The IHSAA and IGHSAU strongly encourages all participants and spectators to practice social distancing and wear face coverings whenever possible. Local policies may vary, including requiring face coverings for spectators.
Schools are asked to read a public address announcement at the start of each event encouraging social distancing (ex: arm test) and remind spectators to do their part to keep their kids healthy and active.
This guidance is intended for all high school baseball activities as overseen by the IHSAA.
It is the responsibility of the home team to provide proper administrative supervision (not the coach) at matches to assure compliance with the guidelines set forth by the Governor’s office, the Department of Education, the Department of Public Health and the Iowa High School Athletic Association.
POSSIBLE/POSITIVE COVID-19 CASES
The Iowa Department of Public Health has developed guidance for county health departments and schools regarding protocols when a student and/or student-athlete reports COVID-19 symptoms, a positive COVID-19 test, result or contact with a person with a positive COVID-19 test result.
Each school should identify a point of contact for athletes, coaches, and other personnel to report to when he/she experiences COVID-19 symptoms, a positive COVID-19 test result or contact with a person with a positive COVID-19 test result. This identified person will be responsible to report such situations to local public health. Each school should develop a communication plan to notify relevant persons (players, coaches, spectators) when contact-tracing indicates the need to.
Schools should implement health screening for practices and matches like methods used during last season, fall, winter and spring seasons. Self-screening and reporting to the school representative (AD/Coach/Trainer, etc.) is permissible.
SOCIAL DISTANCING GUIDANCE TO CONSIDER
Players should make every effort to always maintain a 6-foot or larger distance from all other teams except when actively competing. This would include prohibiting end-of-the-game handshakes from opposing teams.
Student-athletes should be encouraged to frequently sanitize their hands before, during and after practice and competition. It is recommended that all players, coaches and umpires sanitize every half-inning. Non-touch hand sanitizers may be used. Student-athletes should have their own personal hand sanitizer. Individuals should especially sanitize before touching “common” equipment or other items.
CONSIDERATIONS FOR STUDENT-ATHLETES
• Cloth face coverings are permitted and encouraged when not actively participating in competition and if social distancing cannot be maintained. It is recommended that, if worn, players and coaches wear a mask that is a solid color. There is no prohibition of the color of the mask.
• Consider making each student responsible for their own supplies.
• Athletes should bring their own labeled water bottle.
• Students should wear their own appropriate workout clothing (do not share clothing), and individual clothing/towels should be washed and cleaned after every workout.
• Hand sanitizer should be plentiful at all practices and contests.
• It is recommended that student-athletes sanitize hands every half inning.
• Either team may run down foul balls.
• Equipment should be sanitized prior to any contest.
• Athletes should tell coaches immediately when they are not feeling well.
• Athletes shall not chew and spit sunflower seeds on site.
CONSIDERATIONS FOR SPECTATORS
• Spectators are allowed at contests and should maintain ample distance from all players.
• Masks are recommended for all spectators if social distancing cannot be maintained.
• Spectators should be given guidance to practice social distancing and maintain at least six (6) feet apart from each other unless they are from the same household.
• Schools should implement spectator protocols by following CDC and local department of health guidelines regarding size of gatherings and social distancing.
• Pregame reminders should be made via public address.
• Spectators shall not chew and spit sunflower seeds on site.
CONSIDERATION FOR ADMINISTRATION
• Consideration should be given to which facilities are going to need sanitization, how often will sanitization be needed, and who will be doing the sanitizing.
• Media personnel should work with host schools prior to arrival at the contest as to where they can work/access during the game.
• Further communication regarding the postseason will occur as the season progresses.
• Administrators shall not chew and spit sunflower seeds on site.
• Head coaches from each team and the umpires meet at home plate meeting with the players remaining in the dugout. Normal line-up exchange can take place.
• Attendees for pre-game meeting should maintain a social distance of 3 to 6 feet.
• Face coverings are encouraged to be worn by all pre-game conference attendees if social distancing cannot be maintained.
• No handshakes after the meeting.
• Teams should attempt to social distance as much as possible.
• Dugouts may be extended down the line behind the fence.
• Masks are recommended for all personnel in the dugouts if social distancing cannot be maintained.
• Individuals in the press box should practice 6 feet social distancing and are recommended to wear masks if social distancing cannot be maintained.
• Local schools shall determine which personnel should be in the press box considering IDPH guidelines.
CONSIDERATIONS FOR UMPIRES
• It is recommended that umpires wash or sanitize hand every half inning.
• Umpires should wipe down and sanitize equipment after each night of working.
• Post-game review conducted from the same distance as pre-game (6’ social distance)
• Coaches who wish to discuss a rule or a ruling on the field must maintain 6 feet of physical distance
• Umpires will handle the baseballs throughout the contest.
• Umpires shall not chew and spit sunflower seeds on site.
• Umpires for varsity and non-varsity games will be the plate umpire behind the catcher and base umpire as normal. Plate and base umpires may adjust positioning to be deeper than normal for the comfort of both umpires and players. The adjustment should still allow the game to be called as intended.
Administrators and coaches should contact IHSAA baseball administrators Jared Chizek (email@example.com) or Todd Tharp (firstname.lastname@example.org) with questions.