USSSA East – COVID-19 Updates
Updated May 29, 2020
The following outlines USSSA East’s status and position as it relates to our events and teams during the COVID-19 pandemic. This document will be updated as the situation evolves and more is revealed about re-opening protocols in the jurisdictions that host USSSA East events. Please check back frequently.
USSSA East Office Hours
USSSA East strives to deliver swift responsiveness and uncompromised customer service. We will continue to do our best but that is difficult under the current circumstances. Our physical office is closed and our staff is working extremely limited hours. If you need anything, please contact us at email@example.com and understand that it may take a couple of business days for a response due to volume and limited staff time. And to ensure that we can more efficiently respond, please provide all pertinent information (Team name, Team Age, Event, etc.).
Returning to Play / Status of Future Events
Both Delaware and Maryland continue to release information on their progression through reopening plans. Yesterday the Governor of Maryland moved the state forward in its reopening plan and allowed small practices to resume. Additionally, he noted that we could be in Phase 2 next week if current trending continues on its path. The Maryland return to play task force that USSSA East is contributing to, is on track to submit a return to play plan on Monday. This all-sport plan, grounded in current research and medical advice is designed to give all communities and sport organizers guidance on safely restarting their programs. While we do not have definitive dates (or the authority to set them), the convergence of these two things next week have somewhat raised confidence that we are on a path to return to play. More good news next week could really give us a more clear view of timelines.
USSSA East remains plugged into these processes and as soon as we have clarity on when the respective reopening plans allow for any type of competition, we will share that here. Please remember that any team or individual that looks to return to team activities must comply with all state and local restrictions and guidelines in doing so.
We are having consistent dialog with leadership in Delaware that is beginning to map out return to play plans. In Maryland, a member of our team (Andy Wisk) has been asked to serve on the Return to Play Task Force for the state. That task force is creating recommendations that are scheduled to be submitted next week and factored into the overall reopening plans for Maryland.
All of this means that USSSA East has a seat at the table in processes that are critical to our commitment to you. That is, to return to play in a safe and responsible manner as soon as it is permitted.
Together, we are all obligated to follow the local restrictions that are in place. If your state, county or municipality has a stay at home order in place, then you have a personal obligation to follow it. Likewise, if the state, county or municipality that you are travelling to has a self-quarantine order in place for anyone coming into that area, you are obligated to follow that as well.
While timelines are not yet clear, you can be reassured that we will communicate them with you when they are revealed. And once we know we can take the field in any form, we will work with you to ensure that we do so while meeting guidelines for competition.
Event Cancellations and Refunds Due to COVID-19
We continue to monitor and follow the policies of local public health officials as we consider the status of future events. As this situation continues to develop and evolve day by day, we are making informed decisions on future events in a time frame appropriate for our teams to adjust their plans. Our goal is to continue to work 14 days out from events however with some reopening of athletic activities indicating a possible path to returning to play, we may shorten that timeline some to be ready if good news comes sooner.
When an event is cancelled, Stephanie will be in touch with teams regarding payment status. All teams will receive full refunds, but in the interest of handling transactions as easily as possible, we will first apply credit to future unpaid events or allow teams who are interested in adding new events to do so. We can even hold funds until a time when the team can decide on entry into a future event. If those are not currently viable options, a full refund will be issued.
If within a couple of days after an event is cancelled, you have not yet heard from Stephanie, you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire on your refund status.
National Events – Salisbury / Ocean City, MD & Loudoun County, VA
Currently, these events are on as scheduled. Our hosts are working hard to prepare and provided that restrictions are lifted in our host locations to allow competition play by July, those events will move forward.
Along with our host partners, we have been working diligently to evaluate every facet of these events to be ready to make adjustments to off the field activities such as check in, the managers’ meeting and opening ceremonies so that they align with whatever local guidelines may be in place and we maintain a safe environment for everyone.
Once we have clarity on what we must do to meet all guidelines, we will communicate clearly with our teams. However, that communication will come much closer to the event as this is an evolving situation.
New August Events
Recently teams should have received a notification from USSSA National that the 2020 season has been extended to August 31st, 2020. Our normal season runs from 8/1 through 7/31 but with all of the cancellations due to COVID-19, we thought that by extending the season through the end of August teams might be able to use the additional 5 weekends to make up some of the tournaments with their current 2020 roster that they have lost to the cancellations.
Additionally, teams who have purchased USSSA team insurance are having their policies extended for one month – until 12:01 a.m. on 9/1/2020. This applies to any team with a current USSSA Team Insurance expiration date of 8/1/2020, the expiration date for that coverage is being revised to 9/1/2020 and no premium will be charged for the month of August 2020. Your team certificate will be updated automatically and available on your Team Management page at www.usssa.com.
Locally, here is how USSSA East will be implementing the extension to the season:
- We will maintain our current schedule, but have added events during the month of August.
- We encourage teams to sign up for future events soon, especially those in July and August as demand is likely to be high and we are anticipating limited park availability.
- We will do all we can to give our teams what the players and families were expecting in terms of opportunities to play in more events, so long as it is safe to do so.
We understand that August events would coincide with the typical tryout period for many organizations, but believe that teams can still handle that process creatively and still get a couple more events in with their current rosters. Additionally, the Guest Player System can be used by teams to try out players. And that system will most certainly help teams work around potential player availability issues.
Our age cutoff is still calendar year based - player age as of 12/31/19 determines the age group for players. This extension to the season means that player's age eligibility for August events is not affected - that is, if the player was 10U eligible so far this season, she is still 10U age eligible for the August events this year.
Roster Maintenance and New Guardian Waiver
Regardless of when we might be able to resume play, now is a good time to do some roster maintenance. Coaches, we ask that you please do the following:
- Take time to go through and remove players who no longer play for your team on a permanent basis.
- When you login to your team account, you will see a Post COVID-19 Waiver to accept.
- Every athlete's Guardians must login to their accounts and accept the Post Covid-19 Youth Waiver for when we are cleared to return to play. Once they accept the waiver, the athlete will become active on your roster. You can help expedite this process by doing the following:
- Look at your roster. On the far right there is a “Guardian Name” column. If a player has a name populated in that column, that means they have a guardian. If there is no name there, there is no guardian tied to that player.
- If there is no name in the “Guardian Name” column, verify the email accuracy and click the blue “Send Invitation” button to give them an invitation to become the Guardian.
- If the parent does not have their Username and Password but are certain that they have a guardian account, direct them to the Lost Password link at sign-in.
- Your state office can assist you in correcting other Guardian Account issues including:
- The need to change the Guardian for a player.
- Updating account information.
- Combining player accounts if a particular player was created more than once. For example, one coach puts Abby Jones on his roster one year and then another coach outs her on his roster as Abbigail Jones the following year.
We ask that the manager of each team compile ONE list of Guardian related issues and/or questions for your state office and submit it on the entire team’s behalf. That way your state office can work through each team as a whole and you can ensure that any issues related to your roster have been resolved before you take the field. For Delaware and Maryland, you can send that email to Stacey@usssa1.com. Please do not have parents reach out to the state office individually.
Please note that when you return to play, any player whose Guardian has not executed the new waiver is ineligible to participate. If you choose to use them in a game, you assume the liability for anything that may come of them not having accepted the waiver. Additionally, if you are discovered using an ineligible player, the penalty as prescribed in the rule book will be applied.
If you have questions or need assistance with the Guardian System or completing the new waiver, please contact Stacey@usssa1.com
If your team is a “C” or Rec / All-Star team in Delaware or Maryland and you need to have your roster unlocked, please contact Glen Warholic at email@example.com.
Increased Opportunity for Odd Aged Events in 2021
USSSA East is planning to offer more odd-age divisions in events, beginning this fall to create more opportunities for 2020 teams who wish to keep their current roster intact for the 2021 season.
Odd age divisions are not new. USSSA has been offering them for many years and it is hugely popular on the baseball side of our program. It has been slower to catch on in softball for a couple of reasons. We have a lower volume of teams than baseball and the even age delineation has been ingrained in the culture. That said, there is no reason why it couldn't work in fastpitch.
Given the circumstances this year, we will offering 11U, 13U and 15U divisions in every fall tournament. That would allow current rosters to stay together. Of course, we can't guarantee that every 11U, 13U or 15U event goes off. That has more to do with teams registering that way and entering events, but the ones that do will have teams all on the same age plane. And if it doesn't go off, the team would still have the opportunity to play 12U, 14U and 16U respectively.