These best practices have been compiled from resources and latest guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), State of CT COVID-19 Response Website and Little League International COVID recommendations for public gatherings, organized youth sports and outdoor events.
1) General guidelines
Safety is FNLL’s number one priority. Each FNLL player, parent, coach and volunteer has a role in maximizing communal safety. As such, all are expected to abide by these guidelines and prioritize the collective welfare in our actions and decisions.
Anyone who is feeling sick or has been in contact with someone with COVID-19 is required to stay home. Please be diligent regarding COVID-19 symptoms which include fever, cough or shortness of breath. Call your doctor if necessary.
In the event of a positive COVID 19 test please inform your team manager immediately who will contact FNLL officials, including the Safety Coordinator. Certain protocols for a positive test will be followed including informing the parents with children on the team and if necessary, other teams the player was in close contact with, testing of team-mates and self-quarantine if necessary and requiring a doctor’s note to resume play for those who had a positive test.
Rules and best practices may be revisited during the season based on experience and ongoing guidance from governing bodies.
All managers and coaches will be required to review the Little League International COVID guidelines at the following website: https://www.littleleague.org/player-safety/coronavirus-update/
2) Scheduling and Crowd Control
To limit large crowds from gathering, events will be scheduled to ensure no more than one team (for practice) and two teams (for a game) are at the field at the same time. Games will have a one-hour gap between starting times.
Games are scheduled for two hours and are required to end on time.
Warm-up times are limited to 30 minutes before games.
Players should arrive at the fields no more than 40 minutes before game time and keep social distancing in mind at all time (6 feet apart).
Current state and local guidelines require no more than one parent or guardian to attend the game. Portable chairs are recommended since bleachers will be closed off and parents/guardians will not be allowed to congregate near dugouts. All spectators are strongly encouraged to wear face masks at all times and required if less than 6 feet of social distancing can’t be ensured.
3) On-Field Procedures and Game Operations
Players are required to have their own face masks and hand sanitizers. Players are not required to wear face masks in the field of play but can choose to do so. Face masks are required when players are in the dugout or sitting in the stands while that team is at bat or if he or she is a substitute. Players must also wear his/her mask when entering and leaving the field before and after the game.
Bleachers will be closed off. Players should bring a portable chair to sit on behind the fence and/or behind the dugout. Manager/coach will place chairs at least 6 feet apart. Only two players in the dugout at any one time (can be next two batters up, pitcher and catcher, etc)
which will be up to the discretion of the manager, so long as 6 feet apart is maintained. Notwithstanding the above, players in Minor A and Minor B should stay with their parents or legal guardians while they wait for their turn at bat so that they can assist in making sure their child follows proper social distancing requirements.
Coaches are required to wear masks while in the dugout or surrounding area and strongly encouraged to wear at all times if they can’t keep 6 feet apart.
Players are encouraged to use hand sanitizer frequently during the game
FNLL will have extra masks and sanitizer bottles at the fields (Tunxis, Mel1&2, Woods and Dover) in the storage sheds/boxes.
Each player is required to have their own equipment, including glove, bat, helmet and batting gloves. There will be no sharing of equipment allowed. Parents are strongly encouraged to disinfect player’s equipment after each game.
FNLL teams will carry multiple catcher’s equipment so that there is no more than one player using the same equipment during the game. After the game, the team manager or coach is required to disinfect the equipment.
Team water coolers are not allowed. No food, including sunflower seeds and gum, are allowed. Players need to bring their own water bottles.
Players’ bat and equipment bags are to be spread out 6 feet apart and placed outside the dugout.
Sportsmanship will be in a touchless manner (such as teams tipping their caps) - No post game handshakes or post game meetings.
Each team uses their own game balls when fielding with balls clearly marked. There should be no comingling of balls between home and visitor teams. New balls should be rotated in every two innings. Practice balls will be isolated from game balls and will be disinfected after use. Foul balls should be retrieved by a player or coach. Any new balls introduced within an inning should be handled only by the manager or coach of the fielding team.
Umpires are permitted to stand behind pitcher’s mound (at least six feet behind pitcher) and are strongly encouraged to wear face masks.
Dugouts, benches and other common areas in use need to be thoroughly cleaned after every use. FNLL will have pump sprayers filled with disinfectant solution and cleaning rags at each field for managers and coaches to use after each game. Home coaches responsible for home side and visitor coaches responsible for visitor side. Disposable rubber gloves will be available at each field in storage sheds/boxes.