Colorado Springs, Colo. (February 19, 2021)—USA Ultimate released today an updated version of its Return to Play guidelines. The 40-page document outlines protocols and recommendations intended to assist the ultimate community – including local disc organizers, coaches, athletes and others – with information about returning to ultimate-related activities in an environment that continues to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the physical and mental health, safety and well-being of USA Ultimate members and the greater ultimate community continue to stand alone as the top priority, the Return to Play guidelines focus on a wide range of considerations to support and guide the community towards a safe return to competition.
Like the first edition released last June, the latest version was developed by USA Ultimate’s Medical Advisory Working Group (including doctors, medical professionals and infectious disease experts), headquarters staff and community volunteers, along with guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), various health departments and other sports organizations.
Under markedly different conditions compared to last summer (including the approval of multiple vaccines and an anticipated increase in availability and access to larger groups this spring), and with many sports returning to competition, these guidelines reflect the latest science and health and safety procedures.
Specifically, the latest guidelines include updates pertaining to:
- New COVID-19 variants
- Returning to play after infection
- Updated sports-specific risk factors
- Wearing of masks/facial coverings
- Group activities
- Team activities
- Modified rules recommendations for mask-wearing
- Planning templates for teams and organizers
These updates are highlighted at the beginning of the document for quick and easy access to the most significant and notable changes to the previous iteration.
With ultimate most likely returning first at the local, state and regional levels, these guidelines focus primarily on localized activities. Future updates will address large, national-level tournaments that include the added element of travel. Additional guidance will be provided as it becomes available.
In the coming weeks, USA Ultimate will organize calls with local disc organizers around the country to help answer questions, provide context and facilitate the return to play.
At the same time, USA Ultimate will provide more information about its plans for spring, summer and fall events and activities as well as potential contingency plans as the course of the pandemic changes.