BC ATHLETICS RETURN TO SPORT UPDATE – JUNE 25, 2020
On June 16, 2020 BC Athletics announced its “Return to Training” Plan as part of Phase 2 in BC’s Restart Plan. Since this time, BC Athletics has worked with BC Athletics member clubs to complete their Club Attestations and Individual member waivers and we are pleased to announce that a number of clubs have already returned to training with encouraging results. We have received positive feedback from athletes, coaches, administrators, as well as members of the public, with how well these clubs have adapted to the “new normal” holding effective training sessions while also adhering to the new guidelines. We want to congratulate those clubs who have managed to return to sport in a safe and efficient manner and encourage all of our member clubs to connect with us at any time should they have any questions or require additional support as they return to Sport.
On June 24, 2020, the BC Government announced that the Province would be moving to Phase 3 of BC’s Restart Plan. While this is an encouraging sign, when it comes to further loosening of restrictions in sport, this will not be a flick of the switch. As was mentioned during our last Town Hall there will be a lag between the announcement by the Government and us being able to move to Phase 3 in sport. In order to take these next steps, we are continuing to liaise with viaSport (Please see below a viaSport Communique circulated on June 25, 2020), Sport BC, and Athletics Canada to understand our requirements and will continue to communicate updates to the membership as they become known. As Dr Henry has intimated, expanding our current phase of re-opening means gradual and measured steps to insure we continue to provide a safe and healthy British Columbia. In our context – an Athletics sport environment.
Identified Next Steps:
- BC Athletics to meet with the National Back on Track Task Force to discuss a National “Return to Competition Plan”. Here in BC our “Return to Competition Plan” is already in draft format but, we would like to see a National Plan so there is alignment across the country. However, this does not mean we need to wait for the rest of Canada in order to move to Phase 3.
- BC Athletics to develop and publish an Updated Return to Training Addendum
- BC Athletics to develop and publish a Return to Competition Plan
- BC Athletics Staff and the Officials Committee are working together to develop a “Return to Competition - Officials Guidelines” Plan.
We understand and appreciate the desire to return to some form of competition as soon as possible, but we ask that everyone remain patient and give us the time needed to ensure we have the information needed to proceed safely and efficiently. In the meantime, we ask that you please continue to work through the waiver and attestation forms with your club members. Each member needs to have these complete before the athlete and coach can return to training.
Thank you for your continued support and patience as we all work forward during these challenging times.
Greg White – Chair, BC Athletics Board of Directors
Brian McCalder – President/CEO, BC Athletics
Dear sector leaders,
Yesterday, Premier Horgan announced that British Columbia has moved into Phase 3 of the B.C. Restart Plan. This is welcome news for many of us individually as we can now take part in smart, safe and respectful travel within B.C., mainly inside our bubbles.
What does Phase 3 mean for sport in our province? The B.C. Restart Plan takes a phased approach to the reopening of the province, allowing sectors and activities within the phases to open when the evidence and data tells us the time is right, and as protocols and guidance are in place for them to do so safely. Phase 3 of the plan indicates that guidelines and extra safety precautions for sectors returning in Phase 2 are still in place for sport activities. This means that for the present time, sport activity recommendations for our sector remain as they were in Phase 2, namely following the Transition Measures outlined in the Return to Sport Activity Chart from viaSport’s Return to Sport Guidelines. Things remain status quo for now, and we are working with the government to gain a better understanding of how sport will be able to progress safely within our stages over the coming months.
You will have also likely heard that the state of emergency has been extended to July 7, 2020, and with that COVID-19 liability protection for non-profit sport organizations is also extended. Further, legislation has been proposed to extend this protection up to 90 days after the state of emergency is declared over. We know that a longer term solution is desired, and we have advanced your concerns about the length of this coverage to government and understand this concern is being reviewed across multiple sectors/ministries.
With 39 sport-specific plans completed to-date, our sector is well-positioned to keep people safe as restrictions loosen over time across the province. That said, I understand the announcement yesterday may create some concerns and confusion among clubs and participants as to what exactly this means for sport activities right now. It is important that we as leaders communicate that the extra precautions as outlined in Phase 2 for sport are still in place, including:
- Two metre social distancing (no contact; focus on individual skill work and drills)
- Increased hand hygiene and disinfecting (minimal sharing of equipment)
- Local community travel only
- No gatherings of over 50 people (small group, in-club competition; limited spectators and open spaces)
- If anyone is exhibiting cold or flu-like symptoms, they should stay home and away from others
To further spread this message and consult with communities, we have partnered with our Regional Alliance to host virtual town hall meetings across the province, which have been successful so far. We also continue to share updates with the wider sport community through our newsletter and engagements with media, as I know many of you have also been doing. Thank you for playing this important role of communicating with the public. Let’s keep working together to keep sport enthusiasts informed.
On another note, we’re pleased to announce we are launching a new grant that aims to help organizations keep girls aged 11-14 participating in sport. She Plays is funded by Sport Canada and will offer support for organizations to pilot innovative programming targeted at this crucial age group. The application period runs until July 16, so please share this opportunity with your networks if you have a chance.
As always, our team is here to support you as we work through these next stages together.
Enjoy the Canada Day holiday.