• Maryland & Delaware Fastpitch Softball / Baseball

COVID-19 Updates

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USSSA East – COVID-19 Updates

Updated June 11, 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. As we return to play, we will be resuming office hours, likely beginning on Monday, June 15th. In the meantime, if you need anything, please contact us at staff@usssa1.com . And to ensure that we can more efficiently respond, please provide all pertinent information (Team name, Team Age, Event, etc.).

Status of Future Events / Returning to Play Guidelines

Both Delaware and Maryland continue to progress in their reopening plans. With that, local jurisdictional approval is needed to resume tournaments. We are working to line that up and some jurisdictions are moving faster than others. Because of this, we anticipate playing the Ocean City Blast at the Beach. Unfortunately, we have had to cancel the Freedom Invitational. And we are trying to relocate the Charm City "B" Challenge as Howard County is not yet permitting tournaments. All of these events are taking place the weekend of June 19-21.


As we return to play, we all need to be aware of guidelines to do so in a safe and responsible manner. The following are the current USSSA East guidelines for returning to play. They align with CDC, State, Local and USSSA recommended guidelines. They will be updated as the situation continues to evolve.

 

USSSA East Return to Play Guidelines

Updated 6/11/20

Staying Home When Appropriate

  • In line with current state orders, all staff, officials, coaches, players and attendees are highly encouraged to stay home if they are not feeling well.
  • Individuals, including coaches, players, and families, should stay home if they have tested positive for or are showing COVID-19 symptoms.
  •  People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may include
    •  Cough
    •  Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
    •  Fever
    •  Chills
    •  Muscle pain
    •  Sore throat
    •  New loss of taste or smell
    • Individuals, including coaches, players, and families, who have had contact with a person with COVID-19 in the 14 days prior to the event should also stay home and monitor their health.

Temperature Checks

All participants, coaches, officials and spectators are required to self-check temperatures daily prior to attending the event. If they exhibit a temperature of 100 or more, they are not permitted to attend or participate.

PPE / Masks

  •  On the Field of Play
    •  Participants/officials/umpires are permitted to wear PPE if they choose to, so long as it does not create a safety concern for themselves or other participants
  • Off the Field of Play
    •  Participants, officials/umpires and spectators are not mandated to wear masks unless they are not able to maintain physical distance in line with current state orders.
    •  All staff and volunteers are recommended to wear masks.
    •  Masks should be worn by everyone when using indoor bathroom facilities.

Social Distancing

  • All in attendance including spectators, officials/umpires, staff and spectators are required to work to maintain CDC’s social distancing.
  • Tournament staff and umpire gathering points will be reconfigured to encourage social distancing. No handshakes, high fives or other personal contact between teams before, during or after competition.
  • Event Organizer and/or Facility Management will post signage reinforcing social distancing and illness prevention measures. These messages may include information about:
    •  Staying home if you are sick or do not feel well, and what to do if you’re sick or feel ill.
    •  Using social distancing between individuals in all areas of the park.
    •  Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in the trash.
    •  Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • Using hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
    • Avoiding touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Spectators

  • Currently, attendance is limited to only people who are directly related to a participant in the event.
  •  At risk individuals, youth or adult (particularly those over 65 or with preexisting health conditions) are recommended to stay home.
  •  Where possible, we encourage our spectators to livestream the event as opposed to attending in person.
  •  Teams should arrive as close to scheduled competition as possible to minimize interaction with other attendees.
  •  Spectators should bring their own seating. Bleachers and shared spectator spaces are not currently available at events.
  •  At the conclusion of games, spectators and participants should return to their cars and teams should minimize post-game meetings to allow everyone to leave the area in a timely fashion.

Warm-Up Areas

Teams should utilize warm up space that maintains appropriate distance from other teams and spectators.

Dugouts and Spectator Viewing

  • Restrictions on bench/dugout areas will be suspended to allow participants the opportunity to appropriately distance themselves with the space to do so.
  • Spectators are not be permitted in the bench/dugout areas. To the extent possible, spectators should observe the games down the sidelines or from the perimeter of the outfield in a socially distanced manner.

Sharing of Equipment

The sharing of equipment between players is strongly discouraged.

Team Tailgating

Team tailgating is not permitted. Any groupings should be limited to single family units with sufficient space between groups as spectators following social distancing requirements.

Vendors

  • All vendors should follow state, local and CDC guidelines on operating either retail or carry out food establishments.
  •  Gathering / eating areas are discouraged. Patrons should take their food away to a location in the facility sufficiently distanced from others to consume.

Hydration

Participants are encouraged to bring their own water. Water fountains may not be available and shared community water sources are discouraged.

Other Notes

  • Schedules and scores will be updated and posted at www.usssa.com. Physical brackets or score postings will not be used as they are gathering points.
  • Pregame meetings will be limited to only necessary people (officials and 1 coach from each team) and are to be conducted while practicing social distancing.
  •  Parents are encouraged to supply their players with antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer for disinfecting shared playing equipment and cleaning hands periodically.
  •  Use of sunflower seeds, gum and other items that encourage spitting shall not be permitted.
  •  Use of shared objects and equipment should be limited, or cleaned between uses by each individual if possible.

National Events – Salisbury / Ocean City, MD & Loudoun County, VA 

Currently, the Salisbury event is on as scheduled. The C Nationals in Loudoun County have been combined with the Salisbury Nationals on the same dates, July 15-19. Our hosts are working hard to prepare for the events.

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 glen@usssa1.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.

Our Partners

Howard County Recreation & Parks
Ocean City, MD
Maasa
Glory Days Grill
Marpsa
Wicomico County Tourism
Howard County Tourism
Anne Arundel County Tourism
Loudoun County Tourism
Maryland Sports

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