With the pandemic restrictions being "loosened", we're getting to work assembling the team rosters in readiness for the start of play in May 2022. With fewer restrictions, our plan remains to offer a viable program but require everyone to abide by the health and safety mandates. Regardless of any mandates, or dropping thereof, we expect everyone to be considerate of others throughout the season. For better or worse, as conditions change, safety guidelines could change as well. Our program for 2022 will include some safe-distancing protocols and require each team to have at least one designated safety coordinator with a group of volunteers. There will be modifications to the programs that we have offered in the past so that sharing of equipment is minimized and everyone can feel safe having their children participate. Note: we will not be offering player trading cards this season.
Some of the major considerations for 2022 include:
• Vaccinations --- We have been informed that proof of vaccination is not required so we will not be requesting it.
• While mandatory active screening will not be required, we will be asking each team to maintain a contact list of each player's attendees in case of an outbreak. We will be relying on each team to undertake this and all attendees to cooperate. If this is done, each family should be aware of who their attendees were. People not involved with a participant on a team involved in the game should not be in the infield area or near any of the participants.
• All attendees will be required to abide by the mandated regulations in existence at the time, noting that they may change even during the season. Each team is empowered to set, and enforce, its own additional policies and procedures as they see fit (above and beyond any mandated regulations) for their own team's cohort. As of March 21, mandatory masking requirements have been dropped but wearing of such will still be encouraged at our events.
• "Socializing" and "close contact situations" will be minimalized. This means that our pre-game plate meetings and post-game "handshake" rituals will likely be socially distanced. Teams may also need to encourage minimal “loitering”, i.e. arrive just before the event and leave the park immediately thereafter. Attendees from each team must only gather (and stay) in their team's designated area. i.e. one team's players and their entourage on one side of the infield and the other team on the other. Unassociated spectators will be required to stay out of the infield area.
• Take all garbage with you. This includes everything. We expect there will be a lot of used alcohol wipes this season --- they cannot be left in the school yard. We have been informed that there will be port-a-potties available. You may wish to bring your own sanitary tissues and sanitizer if using such.
• Sharing of equipment is being discouraged so needs to be kept to a minimum. To meet that requirement, rather than providing helmets and bats for the players on each team to share as needed, we plan to provide such to teams for individual players either for the entire game/event or the entire season. Rule change for 2022: No personally owned equipment will be required to be shared. IF you want your child to have his/her own helmet, Sportco (see Kevin or Ken) is a great place to go --- they'll look after all your needs (just as they do for us). Sportco: 880 King St East., Kitchener
• The ongoing sanitation of each team’s equipment will be the responsibility of each team so each team will require at least two volunteers (over age 18) dedicated to ensure all health and safety protocols are being met. We are negotiating to provide some hand sanitizer and/or antiseptic wipes to the Health & Safety Coordinators but each player’s parents should look after their own child and their own equipment and are expected to have their own cleaning supplies for such. Balls used in games may need to be wiped down at each half inning. Each team's Health & Safety Committee will be empowered to set the policies and procedures for their own team --- as long as they meet, or exceed, any mandated regulations.
• With our season already shortened to 6 weeks with a holiday, Father's Day, some rainouts and school exemptions included in that time frame, we are offering each team the opportunity to have some additional events scheduled in September (after Labour Day). This will hopefully let us expand the "cohort" each team will be in and, for our older age brackets, have some "playoff" games. While we're hoping that conditions will continue to improve, if the pandemic situation worsens, then these "bonus" events may not be able to be held and the season will be over. (Our official season ends June 26, 2022.)
• We may be scheduling teams to play a limited number of other teams (probably 4) rather than every team in the league if there are more. This is to minimize the extent of any Covid outbreak and, if conditions continue to improve, the schedules in September will present new matchups (for all leagues) and playoff games for Senior T-Ball, Junior 3-Pitch and Senior 3-Pitch teams. Coaches will have the opportunity to retain the team's equipment through the summer and hold practices and team meetings etc. for those players interested and available to participate in such.
• At this time, we strongly recommend that teams assign each player a designated “family” spot in the infield area (out of the field of play), 3 or more meters from everyone else, where personal equipment (bat, glove, helmet, water, sunblock, family members, etc.) can be stored and accessed. (One team on each side of the infield.) Unless at bat, on base or on deck to bat, players will be expected to be at their designated "family" spot. Note: This means that the players’ benches would have minimal use and there would not be players lined up to bat. Unless mandated otherwise, teams will set their own policies regarding these procedural and distancing issues.
• Traffic from one diamond to another should be minimized. This means that families with multiple players registered with us in different leagues could have their children’s games schedules on different days with an exception of specific requests from coaches. Rule changes for 2022: Players will only be allowed to play for other teams this year as call-ups or fill-ins (or try-outs) if both affected teams' Health & Safety Committees validate such moves: i.e. this approval would be necessary for players coming to play on the team as well as those wishing to "fill-in" on other teams. If watching a game/event you are not registered for, it must be from a considerable distance, e.g. the outfield area where no one else is.
Our compulsory rotation of fielding positions will be modified for 2022 for the Senior T-Ball and both 3-Pitch leagues. Depending on equipment availability, the catcher and pitcher positions may be excluded from the inning by inning rotation and be assigned on a "game by game" basis with a separate rotation schedule for a particular game. Regardless, all players will have the opportunity to gain experience at all the defensive positions over the course of the season. We will not be relaxing any of the safety policies we already have in place, e.g. mandatory use of face shields by all infielders (Senior T-Ball and both 3-Pitch leagues).
• Snacks should not be shared. Later in the season, if we provide pizzas or any other snack items for any special events, the team will need to have a pre-designated adult "server" to ensure that everything proceeds safely.
• There are a lot more considerations but these should be the major ones. All can be worked through but it’ll require the cooperation of everyone. Your compliance, i.e. the player and everyone attending with him/her, is a condition of the player's ongoing participation.
Let's all work together so this can be an enjoyable season for all!
The relaxing of safety protocols does not mean it's safe!
Respect the safety concerns of others.
Smiles in the team photos would be a nice touch!