COVID-19 Updates & Guidelines

Newton Girls Soccer is committed to keeping our community safe by implementing and enforcing the MA Youth Soccer Association Return to Soccer Guidelines. Our expectation is that every family, player, coach and volunteer follow current federal, state, and local COVID-19 guidelines. If you need to report a COVID case or unsafe behaviors during NGS practices or games, please let us know.

Given the nature of this pandemic, the guidelines are continuously being reviewed and updated. Please check this page frequently for the current status of our return to soccer activities.

Current Status

September 7, 2021 – Coaches, players, and parents must continue to follow safety standards to minimize the risk of transmitting COVID-19 among all members of the soccer community.

NGS will closely follow any changes to protocol and best practices and will integrate these standards into our safety guidelines and practices. (See below.) Please understand that NGS is not setting COVID protocols in isolation. All measures are developed

  • in compliance with the MA Youth Soccer Association (MYSA), which gets their guidance from the Commonwealth of MA EEA, and
  • in consultation with the Newton Health and Human Services Department.

MYSA is our local governance body and carries our insurance, therefore NGS is obligated to align its protocols with MYSA policies when it comes to health and safety issues. We trust that their decisions are based on sound data and are made in the best interest of our children and volunteers. At this time, we are following the MYSA Fall 2021 COVID-19 Recommended Procedures document, dated September 1, 2021.

Key Points

  • Follow basic health safety guidelines:
    • Wash hands
    • Maintain social distance
    • Self-assess your health
    • Stay home when sick
    • When in doubt, sit out
  • If a player or coach is a close contact of someone with COVID-19 or develops symptoms of COVID-19:
    • Call their healthcare provider and, for players, their school nurse. Tell them about any symptoms and the exposure.
      • Healthcare providers and school nurses will provide specific information about the isolation and testing protocols following a COVID diagnosis or identification as a close contact.
      • In Newton, people who test positive for COVID-19 are contacted by the Newton HHS staff or the Community Tracing Collaborative to provide instructions for isolation and determine close contacts. The close contacts are contacted to provide instructions for testing and quarantine.
    • Contact NGS. We will confidentially alert the team(s) about a possible exposure and notify Newton Health and Human Services (HHS).
    • Whether or not and how long a player needs to sit out of soccer will vary from case-to-case. NGS’s rule of thumb is when a player is allowed return to school they can return to soccer.
  • Specific COVID-19 questions can be directed to HHS staff at 617-796-1420 or health@newtonma.gov.

MA Youth Soccer Protocols

Mass Youth Soccer requires all adults involved in soccer activities to read, understand and conduct themselves in accordance with the Fall 2021 COVID-19 Soccer Protocols (September 1 update).

Additional resources which may be of interest to NGS families and volunteers are available at the MA Youth Soccer COVID Hub:

NGS Safety Measures

To ensure the safety of our players and coaches during the COVID-19 pandemic, all NGS participants must follow MA Youth Soccer Fall 2021 Covid-19 Recommended Procedures. When registering for NGS programs, all parents must acknowledge having read the MYSA PROTOCOLS and sign the MYSA PLAYER PARTICIPANT RELEASE OF LIABILITY. For the safety of our community, anyone who cannot follow these rules will be asked to leave the field.

Based on MYSA’s guidelines, we are enforcing the following safety measures:

Participants, coaches, referees, volunteers, guardians, and spectators must be in good health to participate in any NGS activity.

  • Assess your health before every NGS activity.
  • A temperature over 100.4°F (38°C) most often means you have a fever caused by an infection or illness.
  • Parents are responsible for taking their daughters’ temperatures before arriving at the session.  Coaches may not take player temperatures.
  • If a participant or spectator exhibits any COVID-19 symptoms, even mild ones, do not attend practice or a game. Public health experts urge you to stay home and isolate until you have had no fever for at least 72 hours (without the use of medicine), AND other symptoms (cough, shortness of breath) have improved, AND at least 7 days have passed since your symptoms first appeared.
  • If your daughter is sick (not COVID-19), she should stay home and skip practices or games. Kids should be symptom free for 72 hours before they return to soccer activities.
  • Athletes with any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 or a positive diagnosis will be sent home and instructed to contact their healthcare provider. They will not be allowed to return to training until they are cleared by a healthcare provider. A doctor’s note must be provided.
  • If you are unvaccinated and anyone in your household or that you have had close contact with (within six feet for approximately 15 minutes over a 24 hour period) displays symptoms, you should self-quarantine based on current CDC guidelines, The Commonwealth of MA, and direction from your local Board of Health.
  • If a player, coach or administrator is identified as a close contact, they can return to soccer activities on the date provided to them by the Newton Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) or the player’s school. Typically the protocol is for the player to test 5 days from the date of last contact. If the test results are negative they may return after day 7.  However, if the player is vaccinated and asymptomatic, they may not need to sit out at all. Our general rule is if a player is allowed return to school they can return to soccer
  • Players at high risk for developing severe illness should not participate in this program.

Participants, coaches, referees, volunteers, guardians, and spectators will wear face coverings (when appropriate), limit contact, and maintain physical distance.

Masks

  • Youth Players, Coaches, Referees, other Officials, and spectators are not required to wear masks outdoors. Follow CDC mask recommendations.
  • Masks are recommended for coaches when interacting closely (less than 6′) with players.
  • Youth participants may continue to wear a mask while playing soccer at their parents’ discretion.
  • If wearing a mask during soccer activities, players may only wear masks that loop over the ears. A mask or face covering that wraps around the head or head and neck (i.e. gaiter) will be considered dangerous equipment.

Limiting contact and maintaining physical distance

  • Handshakes, high 5’s, fist or elbow bumps and other physical contact are not allowed between player and coach or player and player.
  • Players should be spaced apart while on the sidelines, during breaks, and during huddles.
  • Players may not share personal equipment. Each player must have their own ball, shin guards, goalie gloves, uniform, and pinnie. (NGS will supply the pinnies.)
  • We strongly encourage that goal keepers wear gloves as part of best health practices on the field. Sharing of gloves is not allowed. At times we do understand a player will be playing goal and not have gloves. The player is strongly cautioned not to touch their face with their hands at any time during the game.
  • Players must bring their own water bottle and may not share food or beverages. There will be no shared snacks at practices, game half-times, or after games.
  • Spectators – even those who are vaccinated – should allow for at least six feet of social distancing between family units when entering, sitting, and leaving the field.
  • Spectators are not permitted to watch the game from the player’s side of the field.
  • We have staggered practice and game times to avoid crowding. Do not arrive more than 5 minutes before your scheduled activity. If you arrive early, wait in the car. Incoming players should not enter the field until players from the earlier practice or game have left the area.  Leave immediately after your activity has ended. Do not congregate in common areas.

It is important to note that relaxing outdoor mask rules does not negate other important COVID-19 protocols:
1. Parents may set more restrictive face covering guidelines for their child, if they so choose. The NGS community will support and respect all individuals who choose to continue wearing masks.
2. All Players, Coaches, Referees, and Spectators are still expected to practice social distancing (6′ or more) when entering / exiting the field, on the sidelines, in the spectator viewing area or in other common areas.
3. Players, Coaches, Referees, and Spectators must NOT participate in NGS activities if they have ANY symptoms or close exposure to a positive case of COVID-19.

Participants, coaches, referees, volunteers, guardians, and spectators will follow basic safety standards.

  • Wash hands before arriving at the field.  Once at the field, soap and water will not be available, so participants should have access to their own hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • All participants are responsible for picking up and bringing home their own waste and belongings.  NGS will not maintain a lost and found.
  • All participants must clean and disinfect their own equipment and launder clothing worn during practices or games.
  • Coaches will clean and disinfect any equipment used during practices or games.
  • Coaches must take attendance at all practices and games in case someone contracts the coronavirus and a trace is needed. If a participant contracts the virus they must inform the NGS COVID-19 Safety Officer. The NGS COVID-19 safety officer will report the case to the local department of health. All team activities shall be halted only until the local department of health can be contacted for further direction.
  • NGS has a designated COVID-19 Safety Officer – Shaun McBrien.

Resources