COVID-19 Protocols and Procedures
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, USA Ultimate regularly reviews and revises its related policies and procedures, keeping player and community safety at the forefront and as the number one priority. These protocols were developed based on the most recent recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and expert input from the USA Ultimate Medical Advisory Group, a panel of doctors and other health care professionals.
Ultimate activities include an assumption of risk on the part of the participants. Closely following all state, local and event-related health and safety protocols, including the procedures outlined below, helps limit the spread of COVID-19 and better protects our community. COVID vaccinations, including boosters for those eligible, are highly encouraged for all ultimate players and community members. Regular testing is also recommended, especially in conjunction with travel, team activities and participation in events
Contact COVID@usaultimate.org if you have questions about these policies or need to report an event-related COVID incident or infection prior to, during, or following an event.
Overview of Latest Updates (5/11/2022)
- Shift from previous practice of removing all close contacts from an event. New procedures align directly with CDC guidance, basing the need for quarantine on factors that include, but are not limited to, vaccination status and recent infection. Close contacts may be allowed to continue participating in an ongoing event if certain conditions are met, as recommended by the CDC.
This shift in policy to allow for some close contacts to continue participating under certain conditions reflects the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic; the recommendations of the CDC, state, and local health departments, and other sports organizations; and the advice of USA Ultimate’s Medical Working Group.
Vaccinations, Testing and Masks
USA Ultimate requires that sanctioned events and activities follow all COVID-19 related federal, state, local, and facility health and safety standards. This policy covers events at the local, in-state level, as well as events that include participants from across state lines. For events involving interstate travel, there is no longer a USA Ultimate requirement for participants or other attendees to provide proof of vaccination status or a negative test result prior to the event. Participants are not required to wear masks during play or in conjunction with participation in an event, unless they are determined to be close contacts and meet certain CDC-recommended conditions for being allowed to continue at the event.
Individuals and organizers are expected to follow local regulations where they exist, which may include areas that require vaccination, testing, and/or masking. USA Ultimate recognizes that, at this point, individuals have the resources and tools to mitigate their own risks, and state and local authorities have the information and perspective to impose additional community-wide or activity-specific requirements as needed.
USA Ultimate encourages the use of vaccinations, boosters, and testing to limit risks to individuals and groups. Local organizers may choose to require proof of vaccination, and USA Ultimate will continue to provide tools for individuals to upload vaccination information and for organizers to check players’ vaccination status as needed.
Regardless of local or event regulations, participants may choose to continue masking as an additional safety measure. In addition, state or local regulations may still require participants to provide proof of vaccination, to submit negative pre-event test results, and/or to wear masks under some circumstances. Where regulations do exist or are put in place for an event, organizers will be responsible for communicating expectations to participating teams and individuals and for checking registration materials, including vaccination or test status, if needed.
Athletes, organizers, coaches, staff and spectators are expected to NOT participate if they feel unwell or are symptomatic. Participants who are not up to date on their vaccines or who have not had confirmed COVID-19 in the past 90 days and have been in close contact with someone that may be sick or may have tested positive for COVID-19 in the prior five days are expected to NOT attend. Any event attendee who tests positive for COVID-19 prior to the event may not attend unless they have completed CDC and local health department requirements for isolation and return to activity, in addition to USA Ultimate’s required 10-day waiting period. Any event attendee, including players, coaches, observers, volunteers, vendors and media partners, who tests positive during an event must report those results to the event organizer and follow CDC and local health department requirements for contact tracing and isolation.
Individuals and/or teams that do not comply with these or other event rules are subject to removal from the event and additional disciplinary action.
Members of U.S. National Teams and participants at events that include international participants may be subject to further requirements, including policies implemented by the event organizers. Further details will be communicated to participants in National Team program activities and other international events.
These safety regulations are subject to change at any time, with or without notice, as the landscape of the pandemic, including the health and safety guidelines issued by various levels of federal, state, and local government, continues to shift.
Health and Safety Violations
A participant who is not following safety guidelines is putting the health and safety of all our participants and their communities at risk. Such behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
- All registered team members are required to understand health and safety expectations coming into the event. All registered participants are required to sign an infectious disease waiver that includes an agreement to follow health and safety rules.
- Teams are responsible for all team members. A team may be disqualified if any of its team members fail to follow health and safety regulations.
- Teams will be held responsible for any falsified information. If an individual player is found to have submitted falsified or forged vaccination records or test results, both the individual player and the team will be subject to sanctions, including possible suspension from participation in USAU-sanctioned events.
Positive Test and Exposure Policies for Events
In the event an event participant tests positive, the following policies and procedures will be implemented.
- The positive test result must be reported to tournament organizers as soon as it is received.
- The individual who tested positive will be removed from the event and barred from returning to the event site. They will be instructed to follow CDC guidance for isolation.
- The acting tournament official will contact the individual who received the positive test result to verify information about symptoms and test results, and to determine close contacts, as defined by the CDC. Procedures for conducting this interview will be provided to event organizers.
- The status of anyone determined to be a close contact (player, coach, observer, volunteer, vendor, media partner, etc.) will be handled in accordance with CDC guidelines for exposure.
- After close contacts are determined and the requirements for removal or continued participation are established and understood by the close contacts, the affected team will be allowed to continue competing with eligible players, under normal competition rules.
- If an event participant tests positive within two days of the end of the event, they must report the positive test to tournament organizers, who will then report to USA Ultimate. Contact tracing is expected to be done by the individual, team, and/or local organizers in accordance with local regulations.
- Any registered team member who tests positive for COVID-19 prior to an event may not attend unless they have completed CDC and local health department requirements for isolation and return to activity. A report of the positive test must be made to USA Ultimate. Contact tracing is expected to be done by the individual, team, and/or local organizers in accordance with local regulations.
- Any participant who receives a positive test or is determined during an event to be a close contact of someone who received a positive test must follow these guidelines.
- Infected – Isolated per CDC guidance and confirmed with USA Ultimate after 10 days that they are experiencing no symptoms before they will be cleared to participate in another event (firstname.lastname@example.org). No test is required.
- Close Contact – Will be categorized as follows.
- Not up to date on vaccines or exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms – Individuals will be removed from the event and barred from returning to the event site. They will be instructed to follow CDC guidelines for exposure.
- Up to date on vaccines and not exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms – Individuals will be allowed to continue participating in the event, provided they wear a mask at all times, including on the field of play.
- Had confirmed COVID-19 within the past 90 days – Individuals will be allowed to continue participating in the event, provided they wear a mask at all times, including on the field of play.
- Communication procedures will be provided to event organizers to assist in sharing decisions and other information with directly affected participants and teams. General information will be provided to other participating teams to inform them of a reported positive test result at the event and actions taken. This communication will not provide names or private, individual health information.
Event-Specific COVID-19 Protocols
In addition to COVID-19 policies in this document that apply to all events, event organizers are required to provide event-specific information about health and safety guidelines for their event. Often these regulations will differ from location to location, so it is important that these details are understood and followed by organizers and participants.
Contact COVID@usaultimate.org if you have questions about these policies or need to report an event-related COVID incident or infection prior to, during, or following the event.