COVID-19 Policy

SOCA is committed to the safety of our players, coaches, referees, families and communities.  We believe it is imperative that everyone adhere to the below Policy and Procedure which have been created with the information learned from the Governor of Virginia, the Virginia Department of Health and Safety (VDH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The policies and procedures listed below are mandatory for all players, coaches and staff members to ensure all of our participants can continue to train and develop safely.  If Parents are not comfortable having their child return to play or their child is at a higher risk for severe illness, please stay home.

The pandemic is an evolving situation.  SOCA will continually monitor guidance and information provided by the CDC and federal and state officials as it relates to COVID-19.  These policies will be updated regularly to reflect current guidance and best practices.

General Information

Mitigation of the spread of COVID-19 relies on the whole SOCA community following the policies and procedures put in place to promote everyone’s health and safety. This Policy will be communicated via email to staff and families, as well as available on the SOCA website.

SOCA will adhere to the physical distancing guidelines, cleaning and disinfection practices, and workplace safety practices provided by the Governor of Virginia and local authorities. SOCA program size will be determined based on the current recommended standards/phase guidelines put in place by state and local governments.

SOCA will ensure anyone who has symptoms of, has tested positive for, or has been exposed to COVID-19 follows appropriate guidelines for quarantine or isolation as discussed below.

SOCA will continually monitor guidance and information provided by the CDC and federal and state officials as it relates to COVID-19. Policies and procedures for all activities will be adjusted as needed in order to provide our services while making every effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 to the best of our ability.

General Hygiene Practices to Mitigate the Risk of Spread of Infection

All players, coaches, and staff members are expected to follow the following practices to mitigate transmission of any communicable disease.

  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Frequently wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an
  • alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover mouth and nose (with arm or elbow, not hands) when coughing or
  • sneezing and wash hands afterward.
  • Wear a face mask or covering when outside if you have any symptoms of upper respiratory infection.
  • Frequently clean commonly used surfaces (doorknobs, for example) with an
  • antiseptic cleanser.
  • Avoid contact with other individuals (i.e. shaking hands, high-fives, etc.).
  • Maintain a distance of six (6) feet between you and others.
  • Stay home if you feel sick and contact your health care provider.

Symptoms of COVID-19 Infection:

Individuals with COVID-19 can exhibit signs and symptoms which range from mild to life-threatening.  The most common symptoms associated with COVID-19 infection include:

  • Fever ( ≥100.4 degrees F)
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

Less common symptoms that may still be evidence of COVID-19 infection include:

  • Sore throat
  • Congestion
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Muscle / joint pain
  • Sudden loss of taste or smell
  • Chills

Required Participation Waivers and Protocols

Prior to participation in any SOCA related events or activities, all players/parents must complete and agree to the online waiver as part of their registration.  The waiver includes a Release of Liability and Assumption of Risk for Communicable Diseases including COVID-19.

All players, coaches and staff members must perform a temperature check and conduct a health screening prior to attending any SOCA related events or activities.  The temperature check and health screening can be performed by adult players or parents of minors and may be reinforced by a coach or staff member in order to look for signs of infection.  This includes:

(1) Temperature Check – all players, staff or family members with a temperature of 100.4 or greater are prohibited from attending any event.

(2) Health Screening – The following are to be asked of oneself or by a parent of a minor prior to attending any SOCA activities or events:

(i)     Is your current temperature 100.4F or greater?
(ii)     Have you been diagnosed with COVID-19 within the last fourteen (14) days?
(iii)     Have you exhibited any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 in the last fourteen (14) days?
(iv)    ***Have you been in close contact (within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes) of anyone that has been                   diagnosed with or has symptoms of COVID-19 in the last fourteen (14) days?

***Participating in a practice or game with another player who later tests positive for COVID-19 does not automatically constitute Close Contact.  If proper measures are taken at the game/practice and sidelines and spaced, no huddles allowed, etc. SOCA does not deem players to be in close contact.  However, if players are sharing water bottles, car pooling to the event, huddling together for team talks, etc. this would be deemed Close Contact.***

If the answer to any of the above questions is “yes,” you are not allowed to attend the SOCA event or activity and you must follow the Return to Play Protocols below.

What is Close Contact?:

Close contact is defined as being within 6 feet for 15 minutes within a 24 hour period.  Playing soccer (especially outdoors) does not necessarily constitute a close contact with teammates and opponents.  Briefly running by opponents during the course of a game or being in the same area of the field as teammates during a free kick does not equal the extended period of time necessary for a close contact.  Additionally, outdoor interaction is much safer than indoor interaction due to the unlimited, open air ventilation.

Associated activites such as car pooling to a practice or game with an infected individual are more likely to induce transmission than the playing of soccer itself.  This is why coaches and players must adhere to sideline distancing, spaced out bench areas, avoid team huddles, post game handshakes, goal celebrations and high fives, gathered team cheers, etc.  If proper precautions are taken to manage the practice/game environment the entire team need not quarantine when a player becomes infected.

When determining if a close contact with an infected teammate was made, ask the following questions:

Did I spend time with this individual in a car on the way to or from the event?
Were we indoors together for any other reason?
Did we interect especially closely such as hugging or shaking hands, huddling, wrestling (horseplay), etc.?
Did I sit directly next to an infected person for 10-15 minutes on a sideline bench?
Was I coughed or sneezed on?
Did we share a water bottle?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, you have a close contact.  If the answer is no, you likely don’t.

Reporting of COVID-19 Exposure

Any player, coach or staff member who has tested positive for COVID-19, are exhibiting signs or symptoms of COVID-19, or have come in close contact with someone who has tested positive for or is displaying signs or symptoms of COVID-19 are required to report this to SOCA at SOCA@SOCAspot.org.

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) the identity of the individual and all medical information will be kept confidential and will only be shared with local health officials, if required.

Any player, coach or staff member who has tested positive for COVID-19, are exhibiting signs or symptoms of COVID-19, or have come in close contact with someone who has tested positive for or is displaying signs or symptoms of COVID-19 must follow the Return to Play Guidelines below.

SOCA Field House:

The SOCA Field House will be utilized as an open-air, indoor/outdoor facility for the duration of the pandemic.  This means the walls on both sides of the building will be fully opened via the 9 large garage doors present.  Additionally, the 4 extra large ceiling fans will be in operation at all times to ensure constant airflow and ultimate ventilation.  Depending on virus rates at any particular time, masks may be required and spectators may be limited for extra precaution.

Return to Play Protocols

These Protocols are intended to guide decision-making regarding players, coaches and staff members who have tested positive for COVID-19, are exhibiting signs or symptoms of COVID-19, or have come in close contact with someone who has tested positive for or is displaying signs or symptoms of COVID-19 in order to mitigate the risk of disease transmission.

Return to Play Following Confirmed or Suspected COVID-19 Infection:

Symptomatic player, coach or staff member with a suspected or laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 infection cannot attend any SOCA related events or activities until:

  • At least ten (10) days have passed since symptoms first appeared, AND
  • At least twenty-four (24) hours with no fever without use of fever-reducing medication, AND
  • Other symptoms have improved.

Return to Play Following Laboratory-Confirmed COVID-19 Who Have Not Had Any Symptoms:

Player, coach or staff member with a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 who have not had any symptoms cannot attend any SOCA related events or activities until:

At least ten (10) days have passed since the date of your first positive COVID-19 diagnostic test, AND

  • You continue to have no symptoms since the test.  If symptoms develop, then management should be guided according to symptomatic individuals as listed above.

Return to Play Following Exposure to a Suspected or Diagnosed COVID-19 Infection

Any fully vaccinated individual who has been exposed (close contact) to an infected individual may continue to participate in SOCA activities provided they are symptom free.

Any non-vaccinated asymptomatic player, coach or staff member who has come in close contact with an individual with a suspected or diagnosed case of COVID-19 is restricted from participation in any SOCA related events or activities for at least seven (7) days and a laboratory confirmed negative COVID-19 test taken on day 5 or later or fourteen (14) days and no demonstration of symptoms of the illness.

If the player, coach or staff member is asymptomatic after fourteen (14) days since last exposure, they can return to SOCA events or activities.  Here, “close contact” means any one of the following:

  • Providing care for a sick person with a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection.
  • Living in the same household as an individual with a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection.
  • Being within six (6) feet of an individual with a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection for fifteen (15) minutes or more.
  • OR:
  • Having exposure to respiratory secretions from an individual with a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection (e.g., being coughed or sneezed on, sharing water bottle or utensils, kissing, etc.).

Match / Practice Environment

SOCA offers many different programs for all age groups, genders and levels of play.  Specific program considerations will be issued as necessary on a program by program basis.  However, the following general protocols are in place for all SOCA activities.  These protocols and procedures are designed to represent common-sense best practices that will limit exposure to COVID-19 during SOCA programming.  SOCA’s number one priority is to establish an environment that is safe for all players and coaches using these guidelines.

 

  • SOCA will adhere to the maximum allowable number of people per field restrictions in place. Parents may be asked to stay away from games and practices when necessary and possible.  Please help us keep crowd sizes to a minimum by not bringing extra spectators to a match and consider dropping your player off and picking up at the conclusion of the contest.
  • Schedules will include time to allow for egress and ingress between games.  Please quickly depart the area after your match to allow for the next group to arrive without generating a large crowd.
  • Coaches will space their sidelines so that teammates are separated by ten feet of distance.  Players will have well spaced areas for their bags and water bottles.   Benches and tents should be avoided.
  • Spectators must space ten feet between family groups while watching matches.
  • Coaches will not bring teams in for huddles for pre-game, halftime or post-game talks.
  • No pre-game group cheers, no post game handshakes between teams, no sharing of water between players and no group goal celebrations or high fives.
  • Players will be screened by parents before coming to events and by coaches once they arrive for COVID symptoms. Anyone showing symptoms will be sent home.
  • Equipment will be regularly sanitized.
  • Players are recommended to use hand sanitizer before and after every practice and game.
  • Masks are not required outdoors.
  • All families will sign a waiver acknowledging the risks of participating in soccer with regard to COVID-19 and communicable diseases.

Players will be allowed normal physical contact during play.  However, physical distancing measures will be taken outside of play.

When will Physical Distancing Occur?

  • Water Breaks – Every player will have their own designated hydration area that will be 10 feet from the nearest player.
  • Group Talks – Coaches must make sure players keep their 10 feet distance while delivering any group talks.
  • Arriving and Departing the field – Players must maintain their 10 foot distance and not walk shoulder to shoulder.

 

Guidelines for Players

  • Cannot be feeling sick or have a temperature of 100.4 or more.
  • Players may not attend SOCA events if they have been in close contact with someone who has recently tested positive for COVID-19. (see close contact definition above)
  • Each player is responsible for their own water, ball, and hand sanitizer.
  • Players may not share water.
  • Avoid touching soccer balls with their uncovered hands when possible.
  • Must follow physical distancing protocols when not playing, may wear masks arriving and departing the fields and when on the sidelines not actively playing (masks not required).
  • Use hand sanitizer before and after each session.
  • High fives, handshakes, hugs, and any other greeting or celebration that involves contact, are not permitted.
  • Failure to comply with safety protocols may result in a dismissal from any SOCA session.

Guidelines for Coaches

  • Any coach with a temperature of 100.4 or more, or feels sick cannot attend a SOCA session.
  • Any coach who has been in close contact to COVID-19 may not participate until following the Return to Play protocol above.
  • Masks are recommended but not required.
  • Sanitize hands before and after each session.
  • Ensure any shared equipment is washed or sanitized between uses.

Guidelines for Parents

  • Administer a temperature check to your player before attending a SOCA event. Must keep child at home if they are feeling sick or have a temperature of 100.4 or more.
  • Must practice social distancing if attending matches. All households must maintain a distance of 10 feet when at an event.  Parents should not attend practices and should stay away from the field unless there are extenuating circumstances.
  • Masks are not required but are encouraged.
  • Make sure your child has the above-mentioned recommended items.
  • Must notify your team coach if your child has tested positive for COVID-19 or is required to quarantine for a period of time.
  • Help your player arrive on time and exit promptly after each SOCA event to avoid contact with others from earlier or later events.