LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has issued Interim Guidance for Athletics following its epidemic order announced last week to allow contact sports to resume starting today. The order requires masks are worn during practices and competition. If masks cannot be worn, participants must be regularly tested for COVID-19 consistent with guidelines issued by MDHHS.
“Safety protocols like wearing masks and testing will help keep kids, coaches and families safe and allow our schools to remain open for in-person instruction,” said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director. “We also continue to urge hand washing, using separate equipment as much as possible and frequently cleaning and disinfecting any shared equipment and surfaces.”
Contact sports are allowed as long as participants are masked during play or practice. Participants need to maintain six feet of distance when not actively engaged in play and wear face masks at all times. For sports where masks cannot be worn and social distancing cannot be maintained, all participants must be tested consistent with the program specified in the Testing and Additional Mitigation Measures for Athletic Practice and Play section of MDHHS’s Interim Guidance for Athletics.
Additional information is available at Michigan.gov/sportsCOVIDinfo. Sports organizers are encouraged to administer a testing program even if it is not required.
“As a parent and former student-athlete myself, I get how important athletics are to our children’s physical and mental health,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS. “However, parents and athletes need to understand the risk involved with contact sports if they choose to participate. Sports that require frequent closeness between players make it more difficult to prevent virus transmission even when mitigation measures are in place, including masks. Even when not required, we urge teams to implement a testing program to protect athletes, coaches and their families.”
It is recommended that spectators are limited to two per athlete. Spectators are allowed with up to 250 people in stadiums that seat less than 10,000 and up 500 people at venues that seat over 10,000 people.
Additional recommendations included in the MDHHS guidance include:
Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus. To learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit Michigan.gov/COVIDVaccine.
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