Many St. Tammany Little Leagues Hope To Still Have A Season
If all goes well youth sports will be allowed to begin the spring season on June 13. A full season will be played with end-of-season tournaments in August.
The decision to reopen will depend on Gov. John Bel Edward’s announcement regarding phase 2 according to St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper. Cooper also said the decision to reopen youth sports this summer will also be discussed among recreation districts, parks, coaches and parents.
“We want to see the kids on the fields in the next few weeks,” St. Tammany Recreation District No. 1 board member Rick Danielson said.
Although non-contact youth sports were allowed in Phase 1, St. Tammany did not allow any sports. The parish’s decision was based on the concerns there were not enough staffing to enforce the recommended safety guidelines.
“We don’t know all the effects on children,” Cooper said “Even young children are getting COVID-19 or other associated illnesses.”
The districts have now had time to come up with safety procedures and policies to follow while holding a season during COVID-19. The procedures will include removing bleachers, staggering schedules to reduce crowds during events, disinfecting dugouts between games, and reforming lines at the concession stands.
Among the St. Tammany districts to reopen will include Slidell Bantam Baseball Association, and St. Tammany Recreation District No. 1, which oversees the sprawling Pelican Park complex near Mandeville. Slidell Bantam Baseball Association usually has around 1,000 players ages 4 to 15 playing during the spring season and Pelican Park already had 504 boys and 206 girls signed up for the 2020 Spring season.
Not all St. Tammany districts agree. Tammany Parish Recreation District 7, which covers Pearl River, and St. Tammany Parish Recreation District No. 4, which covers Lacombe have canceled their spring season altogether.
Most parents are on board with the decision to play. Slidell Bantam Baseball Association’s board president Brad Smith says there has been a positive response to reopening.
“Parents want their kids to get out and do normal things and be back at the ballpark,” Smith said.
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