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Fall Updates on Return to Play Guidelines

In preparation for the launch of official and sanctioned events, USQ’s risk management team has updated the return to play guidelines.

Update September 9, 2021

Since this article was posted on August 31, USQ staff has received several follow-up questions regarding the updated Return to Play guidelines. The following FAQ addresses those questions. Additionally, the Return to Play guidelines PDF has been updated with new visual resources to help teams better understand how to comply with the changes. Those resources are also included below.

Later this month, the USQ risk management team will be releasing a webinar on the Return to Play guidelines. To submit questions, you may email riskmanagement@usquidditch.org or fill out this form

FAQ

My team hasn’t registered with USQ yet. Do we still need to follow the return to play guidelines?

Yes. The return to play guidelines apply to teams registered with USQ as well as those planning to register later in the season. 

My team is attending an unofficial tournament this fall/I am planning an unofficial tournament this fall - how do the return to play guidelines apply to unofficial events?

Unofficial events may take place under stage 2. For teams, you will need to be cleared to have in-person activities in stage 2. This means one of two things:

  1. The team must be approved for the vaccination waiver program.
    OR
  2. The state the team is from (and if applicable, the state the team is traveling to) must meet the baseline conditions for stage 2, which can be tracked here.

For those planning an unofficial event, we ask that you double-check that all attending USQ teams are permitted to be in stage 2. Additionally, we recommend that unofficial events follow the safety restrictions as outlined in the full return to play guidelines PDF. As with official and sanctioned events, tournament directors planning unofficial events may set additional safety requirements.

My team is not planning to be registered with USQ this season, but we might attend an official or sanctioned event that has unofficial games. Will we be expected to follow the stage 3 requirements?

Yes - at official and sanctioned events, all event participants must follow the stage 3 requirements. This includes teams competing unofficially. 

How will you verify vaccination status?

Event participants will affirm their vaccination status through the USQ website, then submit proof of vaccination through a secure form. To affirm vaccination status, login to your account on the USQ website, then go to Membership. If you need to upgrade your account, you can affirm vaccination status at the same time, or you can edit your profile and affirm your status on the edit page. You do not need to have purchased a membership for this feature to work. To submit proof of vaccination status, fill out this form

Under what circumstances should I report positive cases of COVID-19 to USQ?

If anyone attending in-person activities with your team tests positive for COVID-19, you need to report it to USQ through this form. You do not need to do this with affiliated people who are not actively practicing or attending events with your team. 

What if I'm vaccinated and have a positive test from a week before an event?

Report the positive test to USQ through this form. You will need to follow CDC protocol, which is detailed here. If you test positive for COVID-19 but have no symptoms and continue to have no symptoms, you will have to isolate for 10 days. You may attend an event 10 days after the initial positive test. If you develop symptoms after testing positive, you may have to wait longer, following the guidelines for “I think or know I had COVID-19, and I had symptoms” at this link

Results take between 3 to 5 days in my area. Is it the test or the result that needs to be within 72 hours?

The PCR test needs to be taken within 72 hours of the event you‘re attending and the results have to be reported to USQ by 24 hours before, the same as the roster submission deadline. Information on where to find local testing sites is available on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) website here

I lost my vaccine card, what do I do?

Many states and vaccine providers have a way for people to look up their vaccination status. More information can be found on the CDC website here on other resources if you have lost your vaccine card. USQ will accept either a photo of the vaccine card or a screenshot of an official state or health care record that verifies that the person has been fully vaccinated.  

I’m due for my booster soon but haven’t received it. Would that affect my eligibility?

Not at this time, no. 

I tested positive for Covid within the last 90 days and I’m still giving positive results, even if I’m outside of the contagion period. Could I still attend the tournament?

Email riskmanagement@usquidditch.org if you have questions about a specific health situation that is not addressed in the return to play guidelines. 

New Visual Resources

Learn how USQ's return to play guidelines apply to tryouts, practices, and scrimmages with this safety advisory released on September 5. 

rtp_guidelines_2

Determining Your Team's stage. The flowchart on the next slide applies mainly to stages 1 and 2. To be in stage 3, 100% of a team's roster must be fully vaccinated, unless individual players have been approved for exemptions. Teams are required to submit the team checklist form prior to resuming in-person activities. The team checklist form is available here: tinyurl.com/usq-rtp-team-form. The team vaccination waiver program is optional, and allows teams to bypass the baseline conditions required for stage 2. The qualify for this program, at least 70% of your team must be fully vaccinated. The vaccination waiver form is available here: tinyurl.com/usq-rtp-vaccination-waiver

A flowchart that describes how teams move through the stages of return to play. This is described in full in the return to play guidelines PDF

A chart that describes what is allowed in stages 1 and 2.  This is described in full in the return to play guidelines PDFA chart that describes what is allowed in stage 3.  This is described in full in the return to play guidelines PDF


As mentioned in earlier updates, USQ has been preparing internally to allow for official and sanctioned events to take place again after a hiatus of over a year and a half. The USQ risk management team has been reviewing guidance from the CDC and other public health agencies and have determined that several updates are necessary to USQ’s existing return to play guidelines. These changes go into effect immediately. The full return to play guidelines have been updated with all of the information below. 

Return to Play Stages

Under the new three stage system, teams will have the option of going independently through stages 1 and 2. Teams may skip stage 1 if they participate in the vaccine waiver program. However, teams may only be in stage 3, where official and sanctioned events are allowed, if they have met additional requirements.

Basic Requirements

  • All USQ teams are required to abide by the return to play guidelines.
  • Any USQ team holding practices or games at a given stage must first submit the checklist form. This step only needs to be undertaken once. 
  • To hold full-contact practices or scrimmages, a team must either meet baseline conditions in their state or participate in the vaccine waiver program, which requires that 70% of a team’s roster be fully vaccinated.
  • All participants of official and sanctioned events must be fully vaccinated or approved for a medical or religious exemption. Those with an exemption must submit proof of a negative COVID PCR test to USQ before every event they attend. 
  • All USQ teams must report positive cases within 7 days of a positive test result. 

Summary of Stages

Players and teams must follow USQ’s return to play guidelines in their entirety, even if they are located in a state that is relaxing safety requirements. This can include wearing a mask, providing proof of vaccination status, etc. if required. Likewise, if a team is participating in USQ’s vaccine waiver program and the state/local area has public health guidelines that are stricter, then those take precedence. These guidelines are intended to be for anyone wishing to play quidditch in the United States, and we encourage everyone to follow them, even if your team is not affiliated with USQ.

Tournament directors may set additional safety guidelines but they may not be less strict than these return to play policies. 

Baseline Conditions

To move up into stage 2, a team must meet the baseline conditions or apply for a vaccine waiver. The baseline conditions are based on the state a team is located in, and if applicable, the state a team is traveling to. To move into stage 3, teams must comply with additional vaccination requirements.

If your team cannot meet the baseline conditions for stage 2, they must wait a week before attempting to move up a stage again. The chart below is in the full return to play guidelines. That and the chart of the details of each stage may be downloaded as a PDF here

Summary of stages of return to play

Vaccination Requirement for Stage 3

To participate in an official or sanctioned event, all participants must be fully vaccinated unless they have an approved exemption, in which case they have to show proof of a negative COVID PCR test taken no earlier than 72 hours in advance of the event. Exemptions will be allowed for medical or religious reasons.

These standards will apply to all official and sanctioned events (USQ hosted and non-USQ hosted) and to anyone involved in any capacity with executing them. This means that players, coaches, additional team staff, event volunteers, referees, snitches, medical staff, tournament directors, etc. must all be fully vaccinated. Note that spectators are not required to be vaccinated or show proof of a negative COVID PCR test at this time, but will be required to wear masks.

Definition of Fully Vaccinated

Per CDC guidelines, a person is considered fully vaccinated if it has been at least 14 days from the last dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or at least 2 weeks from the first dose of a single dose vaccine like Johnson & Johnson. USQ will accept any FDA-authorized vaccines (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson (J&J)/Janssen) or WHO-listed vaccines (AstraZeneca/Oxford and Sinopharm).

Tracking Vaccination Status

USQ will be tracking vaccination status for the following groups:

  • Players
  • Coaches
  • Additional team staff
  • Referees
  • Snitches
  • Tournament directors
  • Event volunteers

Complying with the vaccination requirement has two steps:

  1. Affirm your vaccination status or request an exemption
    1. Steps to affirm vaccination status
      1. Everyone on the list above will have to affirm their vaccination status through their profile on the USQ website. You will be able to change your answers after updating your profile, such as if you declare an exemption and later decide to get vaccinated.
      2. This step must be completed at least 24 hours in advance of the event, the same as the roster submission deadline. At this time, this step only needs to be undertaken once.
      3. The ability to affirm vaccination status on the website will be available by Friday, September 3.
    2. Steps to request an exemption
      1. Exemption requests may be made through this secure form
      2. Exemption results must be submitted at least 7 days in advance of the event. 
      3. Those approved for an exemption must later submit proof of a negative COVID PCR test taken no earlier than 72 hours before the event, and submitted to USQ by 24 hours before the start of the event, the same as the roster submission deadline. 
  2. Upload proof of vaccination status or proof of negative COVID PCR test 
    1. People will upload proof of their vaccination status or proof of a negative COVID PCR test via this secure form
    2. As with step 1, this must be completed at least 24 hours in advance of the event, the same as the roster submission deadline. 
    3. Those who are fully vaccinated only need to complete this step once. For those approved for an exemption, proof of a negative COVID PCR test must be submitted prior to every official and sanctioned event. The COVID test must be taken no more than 72 hours before the event.

Booster Shots

At this time, we are not requiring booster shots as part of our criteria for being fully vaccinated. This may change later in the season as additional guidance is released by the CDC. 

Exemption Requests 

Exemptions may be sought for documented medical conditions and sincerely held religious beliefs. The risk management team will review all exemption requests. They must be submitted at least 7 days in advance of the event. Those approved for an exemption must submit proof of a negative COVID PCR test taken no earlier than 72 hours from the event start time; this is due 24 hours in advance of the event, the same as the roster submission deadline. 

Exemption requests may be made through this secure form

Privacy and Vaccination Information

For information submitted through the USQ website and/or through a USQ form, only USQ employees and risk management volunteers will have access to an individual’s vaccination status. 

Team administrators will be able to see the status of their team’s affiliated players, coaches, staff, and officials via the USQ website. They may view this information in the ‘My Team’ section of the USQ member dashboard. 

For tournament directors, compliance information for players and certified coaches will be available on the USQ website, both in the downloadable .CSV file and also on the calendar page for that event. For referees, snitches, and other participants, there will be a new feature on the USQ website where TDs can view the status of these individuals.  

Effect of a Positive Test Result

If a player (regardless of vaccination status) has a positive test result, they cannot compete at the event and they'll need to follow USQ quarantine policy. Additionally, any additional unvaccinated players on that player’s team, regardless of their personal test status, will not be permitted to compete and will also need to follow the quarantine procedure.

Consequences for Lying About Vaccination Status or Test Result

Individuals found to be lying about their vaccination status or a COVID test result will be subject to a minimum suspension of 3 years. 

Safety Restrictions

Full safety restrictions, for stages 1 and 2 (no vaccine waiver):

  • Teams and TDs must track attendance for all in-person activities.
  • Athletes may share brooms.
  • No sharing of water bottles, towels, mouth guards, or other personal items.
  • Masks are required, unless a team is participating in the vaccine waiver program. 
  • Follow CDC safety guidelines for events:
    • Conduct routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces and equipment.
    • Further sanitization procedures, such as frequent hand washing, can be found here.
    • Wear masks correctly and consistently when required
    • Practice physical distancing when engaging in off-field activities.
    • Cover coughs and sneezes and wash hands.
    • Stay home if you are sick or have any symptoms of COVID-19, and to get tested for COVID-19.
    • If you are not not fully vaccinated and have been in close contact with someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19, quarantine and get tested for COVID-19.

Vaccine waiver program safety restrictions, for stage 2:

  • Teams and TDs must track attendance for all in-person activities
  • Athletes may share brooms
  • No sharing of water bottles, towels, mouth guards, or other personal items.
  • Masks are optional if the activity is taking place with fully vaccinated participants. At events with a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated, unvaccinated people are required to wear masks. 
  • Follow CDC safety guidelines for events:
    • Conduct routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces and equipment.
    • Further sanitization procedures, such as frequent hand washing, can be found here.
    • Wear masks correctly and consistently when required
    • Practice physical distancing when engaging in off-field activities.
    • Cover coughs and sneezes and wash hands.
    • Stay home if you are sick or have any symptoms of COVID-19, and to get tested for COVID-19.
    • If you are not not fully vaccinated and have been in close contact with someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19, quarantine and get tested for COVID-19.

Modified safety restrictions for stage 3:

  • Teams and TDs must track attendance for all in-person activities.
  • Athletes may share brooms.
  • No sharing of water bottles, towels, mouth guards, or other personal items.
  • Wear a mask at all times, except when participating in on-field activities outdoors.
    • This rule applies to anyone doing on-field activities within the pitch, with the exception of stationary roles that are located primarily at the scorekeeper’s area. Field managers, scorekeepers, timekeepers, and the like must wear a mask outdoors. Goal referees do not have to wear a mask outdoors. 
  • Masks must be worn for the entire duration of indoor events and activities. 
  • Follow CDC safety guidelines for events:
    • Conduct routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces and equipment
    • Further sanitization procedures, such as frequent hand washing, can be found here
    • Wear masks correctly and consistently when required.
    • Practice physical distancing when engaging in off-field activities.
    • Cover coughs and sneezes and wash hands.
    • Stay home if you are sick or have any symptoms of COVID-19, and to get tested for COVID-19.
    • If you are not not fully vaccinated and have been in close contact with someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19, quarantine and get tested for COVID-19.

Questions

If you have questions about your school’s policy on collecting vaccination information and how it might affect your team’s ability to comply with these new policies, please email riskmanagement@usquidditch.org. For all other questions, email membership@usquidditch.org.