Play Ball (Safely) Plan

UpdatedMonday June 1, 2020 bySLL.

A Plan to Resume Baseball Activities in the Town of Smithfield that Promotes the Safety of Players, Coaches and Volunteers

The following proposal (which may be download below) is the result of a collaborative effort by the Play Ball (Safely) Ad-hoc Committee of the Smithfield Little League Board of Directors. The work of this group began in February as COVID-19 spread throughout Europe and Asia as we anticipated a similar impact in the United States and Rhode Island. The work of this group continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Smithfield Little League endeavors to follow all state recommendations and guidelines with regard to player safety. As such, we propose the following action plan with regard to providing kids an opportunity to safely engage with one another through youth baseball.

While the number of known cases of COVID-19 in Smithfield numbers 235, according to The Providence Journal (at the time of the writing of this plan), we realize the positive and effective public health impact of the aggressive safety measures such as the stay-at-home order. As such, the league is committed to adhering to all public health guidelines as it endeavors to provide Smithfield children a means by which to emerge from this difficult period.

Know that our efforts are not focused solely on playing baseball. We appreciate the role that our organization can play in helping Smithfield youth transition to “a new normal.” Our primary concern is the emotional and mental well-being of Smithfield kids and even their families.

Smithfield educators have done an exemplary job in transitioning to online learning amid this unprecedented pandemic. However, an unintended consequence of the necessary stay-at-home order to thwart the spread of the virus was the effect of isolation on youth. As they virtually attend school, children engage primarily with a teacher and not other children. When child-to-child engagement does occur, it is facilitated through an electronic device. The necessary isolation of children has impacted their mental health and the long term effect may not be fully realized for years. For example:

  • Social distancing and isolation for weeks will also take a toll on mental health. The short, medium and long-term implications of the combined effect of these factors require study. Uncertainty provokes anxiety, fear of the unknown, stress. In the current global situation, everyone from young children to adults will be feeling a mix of emotions and some will be placed in environments and situations that are new or potentially damaging. (European Society for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • New Poll: COVID-19 Impacting Mental Well-Being: Americans Feeling Anxious, Especially for Loved Ones; Older Adults are Less Anxious (American Psychiatric Association)
  • The shuttering of the American education system severed students from more than just classrooms, friends and extracurricular activities. It has also cut off an estimated 55 million children and teenagers from school staff members whose open doors and compassionate advice helped them build self-esteem, navigate the pressures of adolescence and cope with trauma. (New York Times)

Social interaction with other children is key to their mental health and development. Baseball, even in a modified format, can help our youth take those important first steps toward a sense of normalcy they so desperately need.

As such, Smithfield Little League presents to the town the following proposal to resume youth baseball activities in town, with parental permission.

Respectfully,
The Smithfield Little League Board of Directors

 

Play Ball (Safely) Plan