Out of an abundance of caution the City of St. Louis has prohibited youth sports during the COVID-19 pandemic. Today the City announced that youth sports would resume with certain conditions. Guidelines outlining the conditions were designed to balance the importance of youth sports with the reality of continued, sustained community spread of COVID-19. Guidance issued from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this summer was consulted in developing the guidelines.
The guidelines categorize sports based upon high, moderate and low frequency levels of contact and apply to all individuals who attend primary or secondary education institutions, schoolsponsored and affiliated sports teams, youth leagues, and non-school sponsored and affiliated sports teams. In the high and moderate levels competitions are not allowed. Types of sports in each category are listed, for example high-frequency includes basketball and football, moderatefrequency includes baseball and dance, and low-frequency includes golf and gymnastics.
Along with outlining guidance in the three levels of frequency of contact the newly issued guidelines include sections on special considerations for individuals with health conditions such as chronic lung disease and heart conditions, mandatory daily fever and symptoms screening of athletes and coaches, and the critical importance of enforcement of the guidelines by organizations, teams coaches, parents and guardians.
“The City of St. Louis Department recognizes the value of youth sports and strongly advocates for young people to resume sports in safe environments,” says Dr. Fredrick Echols, acting director of health for the City of St. Louis. “Participating in sports creates heighten risks of becoming infected with COVID-19 and once infected, infecting others. Risks to the athletes, teams, school communities and the general public can be reduced as youth sports return if there is compliance with our newly released health and safety guidelines.”
Dr. Echols also said that at present researchers and public health officials are still learning about the complications of COVID-19 and the goal of the Department of Health is do its best to help youth, their families and the community achieve and maintain optimal health based upon available information during the pandemic. He said the guidelines have this principle at their core.
Department of Health
Immunizations and Public Health