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 (8/29/2022)
- Shortened isolation window from a required 10 days to 5 days, per CDC guidance, with the opportunity to return to activity under certain conditions as early as Day 6.
- Shift from distinguishing close contact participation requirements based on vaccination or recent COVID-19 infection status. All close contacts follow the same requirements for continued participation.
- Use of (negative) testing as one factor to help determine conditions and timing for return to activity for individuals who tested positive and for close contacts.
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. It is also recognized that individuals have the resources and tools to mitigate their own risks, and state and local authorities have the information and responsibility to impose additional community-wide or activity-specific requirements as needed.
Local organizers may choose implement stricter COVID-related participation requirements for their events based on community needs. Regardless of local or event regulations, participants may choose to continue masking as an additional safety measure. Where local 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 any registration materials, if needed.
Athletes, organizers, coaches, staff and spectators are expected to NOT participate if they test positive or are symptomatic. Participants who have been in close contact with someone that has tested positive for COVID-19 in the prior five days are expected to NOT attend unless they meet one of the criteria outlined below. Any event attendee who tests positive for COVID-19 prior to the event may not attend unless they meet local health department requirements and CDC recommendations as outlined below. 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, including possible suspensions from participation in USAU-sanctioned events.
Positive Test and Exposure Policies for Events
If 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 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.
- After close contacts are determined and the requirements for continued participation are established and understood by the close contacts, the affected team will be allowed to continue competing 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 met local health department requirements and the CDC recommendations as outlined below. A report of the positive test must be made to USA Ultimate (firstname.lastname@example.org). 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.
- Isolate per CDC guidance for 5 days. May not attend USAU events during that time.
- May attend USAU events while wearing a mask beginning on Day 6 if CDC guidance on symptoms is met.
- May attend USAU events without a mask on Day 8 after two negative tests taken 48 hours apart if CDC guidance on symptoms is met.
- May attend USAU events without a mask on Day 11 without testing if CDC guidance on symptoms is met.
- Close Contact (regardless of vaccination status)
- May attend USAU events and participate with a mask Days 1-5 following exposure.
- May attend USAU events and participate without a mask Days 1-5 with a negative test each day of the event.
- May attend USAU events and participate without a mask Days 6-10 with a negative test on Day 6 or later.
- May attend USAU events and participate without a mask Day 11 or later without testing.
- May attend USAU events and participate with a mask Days 1-5 following exposure.
- Individuals are expected to follow these guidelines out of a sense of responsibility to the community and respect for the rules. If individuals or teams are found to be in violation of these rules, they will be held accountable as outlined in the Health and Safety Violations section.
- 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. These regulations may 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.