State releases guidance for youth sports

June 12, 2020

Most sports will be permitted to resume Monday, June 15, under specific guidelines for each sport. 

“We have put a tremendous amount of thought into this,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the Delaware Division of Public Health.

During Gov. John Carney’s June 12 press conference, guidance was released for how sports may move forward. Face coverings are required for players, staff, volunteers, parents and spectators unless it poses a breathing hazard for participants. Rattay said she understands it may be unrealistic for players to wear masks, so she recommends players put a mask on as they leave the field. 

Teams must maintain a distance of six feet between players, coaches and spectators. Players are asked to bring their own drinks and towels, and to stagger their equipment at least six feet apart. Teams should also limit contact and avoid high fives, hugging and post-game handshakes. Spitting is strongly discouraged too. 

Sports venues are required to disinfect facilities at least once per day. Outdoor play is recommended, but if playing indoors, Rattay said, the facility manager should ensure adequate ventilation. 

The state is still working on how to address higher-risk sports such as football, wrestling, indoor basketball, rugby and ice hockey. 

Tournaments are not permitted in Phase 2 of the state’s reopening, which begins June 15, due to the increased risk of players competing against multiple teams in one day. They’ve said previously they expect tournaments to resume in Phase 3. 

The state has not yet announced when Phase 3 will begin. 

Sport-specific recommendations

• Baseball/softball - Moving batter’s box up or having catcher wear a face covering

• Soccer - Disallowing body checking and headers

• Lacrosse - Coin toss instead of face-off or draw; girls – only two players contesting a ground ball

• Basketball - Outside only

• Field hockey - Social distancing during penalty corners

• Volleyball - Limit number of players

• Flag football - Limit number of players


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