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Apr, 2021

2021 Health and Safety Guidelines for Return to Play

Pacific Grove PONY Baseball Health and Safety Guidelines

2021 Spring Season

The following document outlines our league’s adopted policies regarding the additional health and safety guidelines for participation in the 2021 PG PONY Baseball and Softball Spring Season. These rules are taken from the Centers for Disease Control and the California Department of Public Health’s best practices for the administration of youth sports.

We understand that things are changing rapidly within Monterey County, the City of Pacific Grove and Pacific Grove Unified School District. However, as a non-profit organization with volunteer Board of Directors, Managers and Coaches, it is in all of our best interest to operate as safely as possible and to follow the rules and guidelines set at the beginning of the season.

Although other administrative body’s rules may change, we will follow these rules through the end of the 2021 Spring Season to make everyone’s participation as fun, safe and routine as possible.

Practice and Game Day Procedures

  • Team practice and game times will be spaced apart to allow for minimal interaction between arriving and departing groups.
  • Benches and routinely touched areas will be disinfected before and after use.
  • New baseballs and softballs will be provided for each game.
  • Bathrooms and porta potties will be locked when not in use and will be disinfected to the extent possible between practice or games.
  • Hand washing stations will be provided at all game sites.
  • Players and coaches will be required to utilize hand sanitizer as frequently as possible.

  • When signs of illness are present:

    1. Parent will immediately be contacted for immediate pick up.
    2. Player will be asked to immediately put a mask on and gather belongings to wait in designated area.
    3. Coach will wait with player, at a distance of 6 feet, with mask on, until parent picks up player.
    4. Parent will be instructed to keep player at home until no signs or symptoms of illness for at least 24 hours without over-the-counter medication.
    5. Parent should contact healthcare provider if illness symptoms persist at least 2 days beyond symptom onset.
    6. All equipment and seating areas will be sanitized.

  • Screening Daily Site Screening

    1. The player should stand in a shaded area, away from direct sunlight. Point thermometer directly to the center of forehead about 1-3 inches away from person.
    2. The temperature reading should be interpreted as it appears on the backlight screen:
      1. If the screen is green, the temperature is within normal range.
      2. If the screen is yellow, the temperature is in the low-grade fever range (99.0 - 100.4)
      3. If the screen is red, the temperature is 100.4 or higher.
    3. Temperature Interpretation:
      1. Green Screen: Temperature is within normal range. Proceed to Student Symptoms Check below.
      2. Yellow Screen: Re-take temperature 3 separate times about 10-15 seconds apart with the student in a shaded area and with any head covering removed if applicable. If the screen is still yellow for at least 2 of the 3 total temperature checks, do Student Symptoms Check below. Consider having parent take student home if in question of illness symptoms, especially if student had recent illness and is still recovering.
      3. Red Screen: Re-take temperature 3 separate times about 10-15 seconds apart with student in a shaded area and any head covering removed if applicable. If the screen is still red for at least 2 of the 3 total temperature checks, the student should go home regardless of whether they have other illness symptoms. Parent follow-up with child’s healthcare provider recommended.
    4. Visual check and student feedback regarding illness symptoms:
      1. No new: Headache, chills, cough, sore throat, congestion (not related to allergy or asthma), new loss of taste or smell, difficulty breathing (not related to asthma), muscle or body aches, stomachache, diarrhea, or fa1gue.
      2. If any symptom or child appears unwell, send home with parent/guardian. • If student’s temperature is within normal range (green backlight on thermometer) and they do not have the above symptoms, they may proceed to the practice or game.
    5. Upon entering the site players must wash or sanitize their hands.
      1. Parents or caregivers should be strongly encouraged to monitor their children for signs of infectious illness every day.
      2. Students who are sick should not attend school in-person.


  • Masks should be multiple layers and fit properly over the entire nose and mouth.
  • Single layers buffs or gaiters are not permitted. It must be a mask.
  • If a player forgets his or her mask, one will be provided for them.
  • Masks do not have to be worn during competition, but it is strongly recommended.
  • Masks must be worn when not participating in the activity (e.g., on the sidelines and coming to and from an activity).

  • Masks to be worn by coaches, support staff and observers at all times, and in compliance with the CDPH Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings.


  • No sharing of drink bottles and other personal items and equipment.
  • PG PONY will require each player to have his or her own helmet, glove, and bat. If the player does not have one or more of these items, the league will check out these items for individual use during the season to the extent possible. The league will be providing additional information on discounts through our partner Dick’s Sporting Goods in the near future.

Catching Equipment: The league will provide one or two sets of catching equipment per team. If your player is a catcher, we strongly encourage the purchase of your own equipment. Catching equipment will not be shared to the extent possible. If sharing does need to occur for player safety, the equipment will be completely disinfected prior to use by the next player. All team equipment will be sanitized before and after use by the team.

Team Activities

  • Mixing with other households prior to and post any practice or competition must strictly adhere to current gathering guidance. However, all teams must leave the facility immediately following the event. Gathering in the parking lot or outside the fields is prohibited.
  • Limit indoor sports activities (practice, conditioning) to comply with capacity limits (which shall include all athletes, coaches, and observers) indicated in current CDPH Gym & Fitness Center Guidance Capacity.
  • Associated indoor activities for the team (e.g., dinners, film study, batting cages) are prohibited given evidence that transmission is more likely to occur in these indoor higher risk settings. Individual families may participate in these activities outside of the team structure at their own risk.
  • Teams must not participate in out-of-state games and tournaments; several multistate outbreaks have been reported around the nation, including California residents.

Limitations on Observers

  • Limit observation of youth sports (age 18 years and under) to immediate household members, and for the strict purpose of age-appropriate supervision. This includes observation of practice and competition. Limit number of observers to ensure physical distance can be maintained, reduce potential crowding, and maintain indoor and outdoor capacity limits.
  • Observers maintain at least 6 feet from non-household members.
  • To the extent possible, parents in the upper divisions are encouraged to drop off players at practice and then return to pick up the player without leaving their vehicle.

Limitations for Inter-Team Competitions and Tournaments

  • Inter-team competitions, meets, races, or similar events are permitted to occur only if (a) both teams are located in the same county and the sport is authorized in the Tables below; or (b) teams are located in immediately bordering counties and the sport is authorized in both counties in the Tables below. o The county-based authorizations outlined in the Table below apply to the locations/counties in which the teams, schools, clubs, leagues, and similar organizations are functionally based (e.g., where the players reside, where facilities are located, etc.).

    o Local Health Departments to be notified of any cross-county competitions within their jurisdiction and reserve the right under their own discretion to deny the competition at any time in their jurisdiction. Teams participating in cross county competitions will follow the more stringent rules if the participating teams are coming from counties that may be at different case rate thresholds.

  • Teams adhere to current CDPH Travel Advisory recommendations when determining travel for competition in neighboring counties.
  • No tournaments or events that involve more than two teams to occur. Exceptions may be made, with authorization from the local health department where the event is being held and each of the local health departments where teams originate from, for sports where individual competitors from multiple teams are routine such as: track and field; cross-country; golf; skiing/snowboarding; tennis; swimming/diving/surfing; biking and equestrian events.
  • Only one competition, per team, per day maximum to be played.

Physical Distancing

  • Participants will maintain at least six feet of distance between sport participants and others to the maximum extent possible, including when on the sidelines.
  • Maintain at least 6 feet of distance between coaches and participants and facilitate physical distancing between participants to the maximum extent possible. League will provide appropriate indicators to assist players with where to sit.

Informed Consent

Due to the nature and risk of transmission while participating in Outdoor High-Contact and Moderate-Contact sports, information regarding risk has been provided to all parents/guardians of minors participating in PG PONY, and parents have signed an informed consent indicating their understanding and acknowledgement of the risks indicated herein in order to participate.


  • Prior to each practice or game, each player and coach will participate in the following heath screening protocol*
    1. Temperature check. If the temperature is above 100.3, the individual may not participate in the event, but may return showing a negative COVID-19 test or after a 24-hour period showing no fever without taking any medicine.
    2. Asked a series of health screening questions including*

      Have you or your immediate family been exposed to someone who has a positive COVID-19 diagnosis in the past 14-days?

      Are you or your immediate family suffering from any of the following, Sore Throat, Fever, or persistent Cough?

    Have you or your family traveled outside of the State in the past 14 days?

  • If a player of coach answers yes to any of the health screening questions, the player may not be allowed to participate in the activity until the coach speaks to the parents of the player.
  • *For our younger players, a parent may need to be present during the health screening protocol.

Testing and Travel

  • As a moderate contact sport, testing is not required to participate, however, parents and players should get a PCR test if they are showing symptoms of COVID-19.
  • We understand that recreational travel is the right of everyone. Our league asks, however, that if a family is planning to, or has traveled outside of the county or state, that they inform their coach and follow the CDPH’s guidelines for testing and quarantining before returning to their team.

Hygiene and Equipment Sanitation

When equipment is shared during an activity, participants perform hand hygiene (wash hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer) before play, during breaks, at half time, and after the conclusion of the activity. o Balls or other objects or equipment can be touched by multiple players during practice and play if the above hand hygiene practices are followed.

Limitations on Mixing by Participants

  • PG PONY understands that players will be participating in other extra-curricular activities and groups. As an organization, we cannot prevent that. However, we are strongly encouraging the participation by athletes and coaches during practice and competition to one team within the same sport - For example, your player may be part of a soccer or dance program and our PONY program. That is acceptable. However, we ask, as has been the standard pre-pandemic practice, that players not participate on two baseball or softball teams while in season. This season, participating on multiple baseball or softball teams during the Spring 2021 season is not allowed.
  • For larger teams, we will limit exposure by forming smaller training groups during practices for drills and conditioning.

Travel Considerations

  • Carpooling for members of a team may pose a greater risk. To mitigate COVID-19 transmission risk during group travel, employ universal masking, physical distancing, and windows to remain open the full duration of the trip when feasible.
  • Plan for proper communication of all travel rules, protocols, and expectations to everyone in the travel party. When feasible, teams should aim to travel and play the same day to avoid overnight stays.
  • Travel by private car limited to only those within the immediate household.

Should a Player or Family member be diagnosed with COVID-19

  • If a player or immediate family member is diagnosed with COVID-19, it is the responsibility of that family to immediately contact your team’s coach to alert them of the positive test. This information will be kept confidential, however, the fact of the positive test, but not the individual testing positive, will be used to alert the rest of the team in accordance with CDPH and Monterey County Health Department directives.
  • Team members exposed should follow CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19 exposure.
  • Should more than one member of a team test positive, activities for that team will be suspended until all members of the team have followed CDC and CDPH guidelines regarding multiple positive tests within a group.
  • PG PONY will utilize Monterey County heath directives regarding contact tracing should the need arise.
  • Our league will adhere to the current 14-day quarantine rule with Medical Professional’s note allowing return to group activities for the player or coach to be allowed to participate in league activities.
  • Additionally, should a member of the player’s family test positive, the player will be required to quarantine and return with a doctor’s note that includes the negative test series and doctor’s permission.

Returning to Sports After Infection

  • No one with symptoms of COVID-19 or who is in isolation or quarantine for COVID-19 is permitted to attend practices or competitions.
  • Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should consult their physician for testing and notify their coach, athletic trainer and/or school administrator of their symptoms and test results.
  • Youths recovering from COVID-19 will have different paths to return to sports based on the severity of their illness. See the American Academy of Pediatrics Interim Guidance on Return to Sports [1] for additional guidance for more serious infections.

Vaccination of Eligible Households

  • Sports participants, including coaches and support staff, are strongly encouraged to be vaccinated once eligible, as vaccines will protect residents and reduce the likelihood of transmission from infected persons to others.

    Are We Allowed to Play: YES!

    Table: Youth and Adult Recreational Sports* Permitted by Current Tier of County**

    Substantial Tier (Red)


    Outdoor moderate-contact


            Badminton (doubles)




            Field hockey



            Lacrosse (girls/women)

            Pickleball (doubles)


            Tennis (doubles)


    *Play in Less Restrictive Tiers: Outdoor Moderate-Contact Sports

    Outdoor moderate-contact sports (red tier) can be played in the purple tier with an adjusted case rate equal to or less than 14 per 100,000 under the following conditions:

    Implement and strictly adhere to the following additional general guidance:

  • Informed Consent

    Additional general guidance that should be implemented to the greatest extent possible and are required or strongly encouraged.

  • Face Coverings (during play)
  • Physical Distancing (during play)
  • Hygiene and Sanitation
  • Limitations on mixing by participants
  • Travel Considerations