USA Cheer “Return to Cheer and STUNT” Guidelines

Published: July 21, 2020

USA Cheer supports the return of cheer and STUNT activities while keeping the health and safety of the athletes as the priority.

The following document provides guidance and recommendations for resuming athletic activity in cheer. This is a living document, which may be updated as new information and recommendations become available.

USA Cheer recommends following federal, state, and local guidelines, as well as those of your governing athletics/activities association.

The CDC has recommended taking everyday preventive actions, using physical distancing, and wearing face coverings to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Preventive Actions

  • The primary consideration is to begin any activity, practice, etc. with a clean space.
  • Clean/sanitize surfaces with cleaner/accepted methods listed on the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of disinfectants for use against SARS-CoV-2 as directed by the CDC, or as may be reasonably necessary. See the Resources Section.
  • Mats should be cleaned at least each day of activity or as needed according to current guidelines. If different groups are meeting in the same space at different times, mats should be cleaned between groups.
  • Temperature checks and health assessment questionnaires should be completed at check-in and records maintained. See the Resources Section.
  • Any athlete that feels ill during activity should be isolated and picked up by parents/guardians as soon as possible.
  • Provide access to handwashing areas and wash hands during breaks or as reasonably necessary, with particular attention after participating in stunts.
  • Athletes, coaches, and support staff who are a member of a high-risk group or live at home with a member of a high-risk group should consider attending training sessions virtually.
  • Athletes and parents should be made aware of current best practices for minimizing the spread. Athletes should be sure to wash their hands thoroughly and/or use hand sanitizer before, during, and after practice and should avoid touching their face.
  • Athletes should maintain their equipment themselves and there should be no other shared equipment, including, but not limited to the following:
    • Water bottles
    • Poms
    • Megaphones
    • Signs

Physical Distancing

  • Use proper physical distancing to minimize contact.
  • Limit contact between groups at exits and entrances by staggering arrival/departure times between cohort groups (individual stunt groups, teams, etc.) and designating separate entrances and exits when possible.
  • Avoid congregating before, during, and after practice.
  • Contact and physical distancing should follow all local health directives.
  • Stunting should only occur when local directives allow contact in sports.
  • Keep stunt groups together in their cohort. Refrain from mixing and matching bases and tops from different groups.
  • Keep stunt groups distanced from other stunt groups when possible (i.e. when not building pyramids), while allowing for all groups to remain on the proper surface for stunting.

The type of contact found in cheer can vary greatly and can be adjusted to meet local distancing guidelines.

Physical contact with other teams: Participation in cheer and STUNT does not involve physical interaction with other teams. In this regard, contact during games and competition is similar to that found in volleyball or tennis. Contact sports that involve direct contact with the opposing team include football, basketball, wrestling, baseball/softball, field hockey, and soccer.

Face Coverings

Local state athletics/activities associations and other local governing bodies may have varying rules regarding face coverings. We recommend following federal, state, and local health department guidelines as well as those of your governing athletics/activities association.

USA Cheer recommends allowing face coverings with the following guidelines:

  • Face coverings should be snug-fitting.
  • Face coverings should not impede vision or movement.
  • Face coverings should be soft and pliable with no exposed metal, and should provide adequate ventilation and protection from the spread of particulate matter.
  • Modifications to skills should be considered while wearing face coverings, such as limiting inversions, twisting, and tosses.

Use these examples when considering face coverings.

  • Coverings that are held in place with over-the-head straps using Velcro or other breakaway type connections.
  • Full head coverings.
  • Coverings that minimize the chance of having fingers caught in them or shifting to impede any visual sight.

Physical Readiness

Due to shutdowns and general isolation, many athletes have not participated in an activity in several months. Even with individual conditioning and practicing jumps and tumbling, athletes will need a period of acclimatization to prepare for physical activity.

Resources Section

This document is a general informational resource and should not be treated as medical or expert advice for participation. Rely on the information at your own risk, and consult the most up-to-date recommendations of federal, state, and local public health officials. The information provided here is neither exhaustive nor necessarily applicable to all circumstances or individuals, and is no substitute for consultation with appropriate health-care professionals. Statutes, codes or environmental conditions may be relevant. These guidelines should be considered in conjunction with other pertinent materials when taking action or planning care. USA Cheer reserves the right to rescind or modify any guidelines at any time.