Before we finalize and announce Travel teams for the 2021-2022 season, we wanted to send a communication about COVID implications for our season. We are doing this in the interest of full transparency so that families can make an informed decision about participation prior to finalizing teams. This memo was prepared in collaboration with the Belmont Board of Health.
Please review this information and email BYBA no later than Saturday October 16th if you would like to withdraw your child from Travel Basketball.
While an indoor mask mandate exists within Belmont, indoor mask mandates are variable in other towns where travel games will be played. The Metrowest league is not going to announce its COVID-related policies until November; while it’s possible they will require universal masking for games, it is also possible they will defer to local town/municipality rules around mask-wearing.
For games outside of Belmont, we do not have control over mask and hygiene practices of other towns or teams. This means that your child’s travel team will likely play against teams that are unmasked.
There will be a larger proportion of travel games played outside of Belmont this year, including many “home” games (due to limited access to Belmont school gyms on weekends).
The main purpose of masks is to prevent COVID from spreading to others (in the event someone has COVID); mask-wearing (i.e. surgical or cloth masks) offers relatively limited protection against droplets that could carry COVID.
Our approach for games outside of Belmont where a mask mandate isn’t in place will be “mask recommended,” meaning individual families will decide whether their child wears a mask.
COVID Exposures (as defined by the Belmont Board of Health)
If a COVID case turns up in a BYBA player or coach, exposure is defined as “within 6 feet for 15 collective minutes,” regardless of mask-wearing.
We plan to put measures in place to minimize 0-6 foot proximity for games (i.e. by spacing players on the sideline). It’s very difficult to be precise on this – the practice of the Board of Health will be to err on the side of caution when it comes to exposure and it is possible an entire team may be required to quarantine if close contacts are unable to be accurately identified.
If a player (or coach) is confirmed to be exposed per the Board of Health, s/he will be required to quarantine for 7 days with families responsible for conducting a COVID test on the 5th day post-exposure. Belmont Public Schools will require families to provide proof of negative PCR test results before exposed children will be allowed to return to school.
Fully vaccinated individuals are exempt from quarantine and should just be extra vigilant about monitoring for potential symptoms for 14 days after exposure.
The “test and stay” program, as well as the 3-6 foot quarantine exemption, apply to exposures within Belmont Public Schools only and do not apply to extracurricular activities such as sports.
We strongly recommend that all coaches, both travel and in-town, be vaccinated against COVID.
For in-town 5th-8th grade teams, over 80% of Belmont High School students are vaccinated, so the chances are high that your player’s in-town coaches will be vaccinated.
It is likely that the Pfizer vaccine will become available to children ages 5-11 sometime this fall (some anticipate it by the end of October). We anticipate that many (but not all) BYBA participants will be vaccinated at some point this fall or early winter, which would have a positive impact on our season from a COVID standpoint.
We ask you to carefully consider the realities and implications of COVID on youth basketball for the 2021-2022 season.
If any of the above information changes your interest in participating this year, please let us know no later than Saturday 10/16 so we can adjust teams. We plan to announce travel teams next week.