Contra Costa Health Services updated its health guidance for youth sports and activities on Sept. 2, aligning the county with the state's public health guidelines for the 2021-22 school year.
The county's guidelines include mask requirements indoors for all students, coaches and spectators and the recommendation that masks be worn outdoors as well.
Students, coaches and staff are also encouraged, but not required, to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 if they are age 12 or older.
According to county Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano, unvaccinated Contra Costa County residents were 13 times more likely than fully vaccinated residents to be hospitalized due to COVID-19 in July and August.
"Schools and organizations that provide youth sports and other activities need to be especially aware, because children younger than 12 are not yet able to be vaccinated," Farnitano said. "While pediatric hospitalization rates remain low across the county, children who catch Covid-19 can pass the virus to vulnerable adults."
Schools are encouraged to hold high-risk sports and club activities outdoors when possible, including cheerleading, choir, drama, dance and bands that include wind instruments.
The county also encouraged limiting participation in high-risk sports like basketball, wrestling and football to students who are fully vaccinated when the area's transmission of the virus is high, as it currently is.
Students, coaches and staff who are unvaccinated will be required to test for COVID-19 at least once per week if it is not feasible to limit participation to just vaccinated students, according to the county.
Information on the county's health guidance for schools, child care and extra-curricular activities can be found at coronavirus.cchealth.org.