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LA County Has Updated Rules For COVID-19 Vaccinations and Testing in Youth Sports. Here's What They Mean For Your Young Athlete

A sole student runner on an outdoor track leans over holding their knees
An Antelope Valley High School runner stretches on the outdoor track.
(Philip Strong
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Anyone who plays, coaches, works or volunteers in youth sports based in Los Angeles County has new rules to follow, and they vary between activities.

The county Department of Public Health has divided youth sports into three categories of risk — low, moderate and high — and issued respective requirements for unvaccinated participating children and adults.

“High risk” sports include basketball, football and hockey. “Moderate risk” refers to sports with less contact, such as baseball, volleyball and cheerleading. “Low risk” sports include swimming, gymnastics and track and field.

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Starting Wednesday, Sept. 1, here’s who will have to submit to a weekly negative COVID-19 test result to participate in youth sports:

  • Everyone unvaccinated, including players under 12 years old, involved in moderate or high risk sports played indoors.
  • Everyone unvaccinated 12 years old and older involved in high risk sports played outdoors.
  • Everyone with a known exposure to the virus must show two weekly negative COVID-19 test results. This is regardless of vaccination status.
Page 7 of Reopening_YouthSports
Contributed to DocumentCloud by KPCC Documents (Southern California Public Radio) • View document or read text

Weekly COVID-19 tests will not be required for those who are fully vaccinated, unless there’s a known exposure in their group. If an unvaccinated person contracted COVID-19, fully recovered and completed quarantine, they can also skip weekly testing for about three months after getting sick.

The latest public health rules apply only to teams based in Los Angeles County and cannot require teams visiting from outside the county to adhere to them. With that in mind, the health department encourages extra caution when playing tournament style competitions, noting the added risk of infection when introducing traveling players and staff.

Organizers of youth sports are also required to keep records tracking everyone’s vaccination status and compliance with weekly testing rules.

And no matter what you play or where you play it, everyone is expected to wear masks except in a pool or while actively drinking or eating.

What questions do you have about vaccines?

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