State’s sports guidance mandates distance, low contact

Aug 17, 2020

The outlook for fall sports this year is still unclear, but the chances that students will get to play football and soccer seem slim as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

“Right now, it’s all speculation. Nothing is definite,” said Wareham High School Athletic Director Ed Rodrigues, who hopes to be able to make more definite plans this week as more guidance is released.

The state released guidelines about what athletic activities are or are not allowed on August 13 that are now in effect.

Sports were divided into three categories: low risk, moderate risk, and high risk.

Low risk sports, including golf and cross country, are those that can be played individually and involve no physical contact. 

Moderate risk sports -- including baseball, softball, track and field, volleyball, and soccer -- are characterized by limited and intermittent physical contact between players.

High risk activities, including football, basketball, and cheerleading, are characterized by routine close contact and a high risk that participants will “exchange respiratory particles.”

The state also divided sports activities into four levels by riskiness: Level one, the least risky, includes individual workouts and drills; level two includes competitive practices and scrimmages; level three includes games and meets between teams; and level four is outdoor tournaments.

Athletes playing low-risk sports can participate in all four levels of activity.

Moderate and high risk sports can practice level one activities, and could participate in level two or three play if they modify the way the sports are played to mitigate the risk of transmission.

Modifications should keep players spaced six feet apart to the greatest extent possible. Equipment should not be shared, or should be cleaned between uses. Protective equipment should be incorporated in a safe manner. Contact between participants should be minimized. 

The only low-risk sport usually played each fall at Wareham High is cross country. 

To read the state’s complete guidance about athletics, click here.