An order issued last week by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis, could result in hundreds of thousands of children in Los Angeles County losing out on youth sports for the remainder of 2021.
Ben, a parent volunteer of a soccer club in the county spoke with the Globe about what this order will do to youth sports. “I think parents don’t know this is coming,” he said. “Youth sports organizations, most of which are heavily dependent on volunteers, are being asked to be COVID test aggregators and enforcers and as of September 1st, kids showing no signs of COVID, will be required to submit weekly tests or they are not allowed to play.”
“The LADPH issued an Order August 23, 2021 that requires weekly testing of all children, regardless of age or vaccination status, who want to play sports in LA County,” Ben said. He explained that in order to “compete” and play sports, the order states all children, including kids as young as 4 or 5 playing T-ball with their parents, will be required to submit weekly COVID tests, even if they’re not showing any symptoms.
“The thought that volunteer sports organizations and sports clubs have to manage this… there is no way for us to ‘require’ this and oversee it. We don’t have the infrastructure or the financial ability to do it,” Ben said.
Ben said 2,700 kids is just one region of AYSO in LA County participate in American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) alone. “Seasons will be cancelled if the county does not change one word in the order,” Ben said. “We need the word REQUIRE replaced with RECOMMEND in the Health Order. That’s all we need. Just ONE word is the difference between tens to hundreds of thousands of kids in LA County being able to exercise outside in a supervised environment or going home every day to play video games in their rooms after sitting masked up all day in classrooms.”
“Many youth sports organizations in LA County are actively encouraging County Supervisors to seek the change of just ONE word in the recent LA Department of Public Health Order,” Ben said. “Otherwise, numerous programs will be forced to cancel the Fall season.”
“This order applies to high school athletes as well as kids who play T-ball, Little League, AYSO, Pop-Warner/flag football, softball, club soccer, travel baseball, lacrosse, water polo, basketball, volleyball, and any other sport,” Ben explained. He said there is no distinction in the County Order between indoor and outdoor sports, nor is there any recognition of natural immunity from a prior case of COVID.
“What we haven’t had enough conversion about surrounding COVID is health and fitness,” Ben said. “We want kids to be healthy and fit. Kids need to be outdoors and exercising.”
Ben said during the statewide lockdowns of schools and businesses, “club sports were the bright spot in kids’ lives. This is only about the kids,” Ben added. “These types of detrimental public health policies in LA County kept our children out of school last year, and now they’re about to crush the kids once again.”
These are the latest Los Angeles County Public Health Department orders:LA County Public Health Order – August 23 2021
Reopening_YouthSports____August 23 2021
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