San Francisco updates mask guidelines for youth sports and quarantine guidelines for child care programs

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San Francisco children in youth athletic programs who have received all of the COVID-19 vaccine doses for which they are eligible will be allowed to remove their masks during indoor workouts under new guidelines from the San Francisco Department of Public Health. .

The guidelines, which came into effect on Tuesday, apply to children who have completed at least two weeks of their initial vaccination series as well as one week after receiving a booster dose, if eligible.

According to the SFDPH, a handful of requirements beyond vaccination must also be met before student-athletes can remove their masks during indoor workouts, including that the group meet regularly over the course of a season; there are no spectators or other guests in the practice area at the same time; and that there are no children under 5 years old.

Masks will still be required when competing with other teams or groups, according to updated guidelines. Vaccination status should also be verified and made available to municipal authorities upon request.

City health officials also updated quarantine guidelines for children in child care programs who test positive for the virus but remain asymptomatic.

Children 2 and older who have tested positive but remain asymptomatic can return to their child care program if they test negative after only 5 days of quarantine instead of the previously required 10 days.

SEE ALSO: CDC recommends shorter COVID isolation, quarantine for all

The guidance reflects the quarantine and testing protocol already in place for K-12 students. Children who are exposed to the virus in their childcare program and who are asymptomatic will also no longer be required to self-isolate, provided they test negative at least twice in five days with at least 36 hours between both tests.

City health officials have argued that changes to isolation and quarantine guidelines for childcare will keep young children safe while reducing the risk of disruptions when children are forced to miss more one week of care after testing positive.

“We recognize that the Omicron push has been particularly challenging for families with young children,” city health officer Dr. Susan Philip said in a statement. “The vast majority of COVID-19 cases in this age group are mild, and we look forward to offering vaccines to this group soon to add the final layer of protection pending federal and state reviews and approvals.”

For youth sports programs, the city will continue to recommend — but not require — the use of face masks outdoors. Student-athletes are still required to wear masks indoors when not actively participating in a sport or activity.

Full city guidance for childcare, day camps, youth sports and other activities is available at https://www.sfdph.org/dph/files/ig/Programs-for -Children-and-Youth.pdf.

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