COVID-19 Safety Plan
In keeping with BC Government and Worksafe BC Guidelines for Phase 2 re-opening, and in alignment with ViaSport British Columbia’s Return to Sport Guidelines and BC Soccer's Return to Play Phase 1 Plan - Recommendations and Guidelines,West Kootenay Football Club has developed the following plan for all member families, players and employees to follow to mitigate the risk of transmission as best possible.
Please note: This plan incorporates the Outdoor portion of operations. A separate risk assessment will be made for Indoor operations closer to the time, along with an associated safety plan if one can be made.
1. Risk Assessment
“The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads in several ways. It can spread in droplets when a person coughs or sneezes. It can also spread if you touch a contaminated surface and then touch your face.” - Worksafe BC COVID-19 Safety Plan Guide.
It is now a well-documented fact that Transmission risk is lessened greatly in open outdoor spaces, like a Soccer Field, with the use of social distancing measures. The open airspace allows less chance for contaminated particles to linger in the air where another person passing through can be infected by them. Such spaces also make maintaining a 2 meter distance between people easier to implement.
Soccer is a sport that involves close contact between players on a regular basis. While not technically considered a 'full contact sport', players can and do engage in limited physical contact during games/scrimmages and even during certain practice drills. As a Children and Youth Soccer Organization, we acknowledge it will be difficult to ensure all players maintain a strict 2m distance from one another – especially when dealing with our younger age groups. Solutions to this is detailed below.
The equipment used for practices and games will see a significant amount of contact with players and staff, whether it be during the setup and take down from sessions or by the players themselves in the normal course of picking up and putting down balls, cones, etc.
Families transitioning to and from practice bears a risk of closer contact between those not isolating together, as the spaces to park vehicles are limited in size and cause a 'bottleneck' effect.
Social aspects of participating in Soccer (Handshakes between players after games, fans greeting one another, various other social conventions) are also potential risk factors for transmission.
2. Safety Protocols
As well as the more detailed, by group, protocols listed below, there is a general rule that if you are feeling unwell or have cold/flu-like symptoms that you and your family must stay home.
Spectators: Spectators will be required to leave the field and either watch from their vehicle or go elsewhere. The current maximum 'gathering' size posited by the BC Government is 50, including staff and spectators. By leaving the field you are allowing us to focus those numbers on players and staff – giving more opportunity to play.
Players: IF YOU ARE SICK, STAY HOME. Families will be required to perform a 'self check' at the check in table before participation in programs. Players will maintain 2m distance during sessions. Hand Sanitizer will also be required before and after practice. As per BC Soccer guidelines, only players old enough to understand the need to remain in 2m spacing from other players will be permitted to participate. This rules out age groups below Grade 2 for the time being.
Coaches/Referees: All coaches will be required to use hand sanitizer before and after handling equipment, before and after practice. Coaches and Volunteers will receive training in COVID protocols before program start. Coaches will also maintain 2m distance from spectators and players when interacting and will not engage in any form of physical contact with players or spectators (I.e. Handshakes, High Fives, etc). BC Soccer's Return to Play Phase 1 Plan – Technical Resources will be used as a guide for activity planning. Players will be organised into marked boxes, spaced 2 m apart in all directions, with extra room down the centre 'aisle' where the coaching staff can walk, instruct and ensure the distancing measures are adhered to. The Boxes will have enough room that players can complete all exercises within them, with the only travel between boxes being made by the ball during specially modified 'games'. Players will not be allowed to leave those boxes unless for bathroom breaks and staggered dismissal. Staff are responsible for ensuring players remain inside their designated practice box.
Equipment: All equipment must be sanitized before and after each intake of different players, with gloves being worn during this phase of operations. This will be conducted by staff members and NOT players or parents.
First Aid – First Aid will require the use of PPE, enhanced procedures outlined in the Worksafe BC OFAA Protocols during COVID-19. First Aid will be performed by the Senior Qualified Staff Member on field only. All other staff will focus on keeping players within their spacing to avoid a breakdown of social distancing due to concern/curiosity.
Ingress/Egress of Fields: For those fields with limited entry/access points. We will create a system of dedicated Entry and Exit points to help create a flow of traffic that can maintain 2m distancing.
Illness Policy: If a player or family member has symptoms of illness, including sore throat, aches, chills, congestion, difficulty breathing and/or cold/flu symptoms will be immediately sent home and not to return to activity for 10 days. Please note these symptoms DO NOT have to be confirmed COVID-19 for this policy to be used.
Communication – Signage will be placed on the field for communicating all relevant on-field information. Communication with members will be exclusively via phone or email.
As per Provincial Guidelines, we strongly discourage the use of social conventions such as hand shakes, hugs and close contact between members who are not of the same household in order to reduce the risk of transmission. Also, if you wish to use face masks, please ensure they are clean and DRY. Wet or soiled face masks reduce the effectiveness of the mask to prevent transmission.
There will also be no social functions organized by us relating to our operations (Tournaments, Potlucks or team parties), until lifting of current restrictions on Mass Gathering.
Again we would like to re-iterate that Face Masks help prevent transmission but are NOT total protection. If you or any member of your family is feeling unwell at all – keep EVERYONE home.
3. Situational Awareness
This is a unique situation our society finds itself in, having a pandemic and the scientific knowledge to prevent serious risk to health. As in all things, it is a living system with ever changing circumstances. As such our policy for mitigating situational risk is constant monitoring of the pandemic situation, with the understanding between staff, players and parents that action will be taken at a moments notice in the interest of maintaining the health and safety of all involved. This includes but is not limited to suspension of soccer program activity or changes to program layout/infrastructure. As will be detailed in the Enhanced Waiver all parents will be required to sign before participation, responsible parties to participants accept the risk suspension or even cancellation of a program may occur, due to changing circumstances in the Pandemic threatening the safety of participants/staff. Any decision required will be communicated to all involved by email as soon as it has been made and can be done at a moment's notice.
4. Outbreak Protocol
As per Viasport guidelines an 'outbreak' is defined as two or more cases of COVID 19.
In the event of a reported outbreak, the following chain of command will make decisions for the Club as regards what immediate action the Club will take: Primary responsibility for immediate action will lay with the Executive Director, unless that person is ill in which case the responsibility will fall to the Executive Administrator and failing that the Board of Directors. With that being said, the Club's Board of Directors and Executive Staff has and will be working together to guide the Club's actions during this crisis for the well being of both the Club and all who benefit from its programs.
Step 1. If Staff (including Volunteers) or participants report they are suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 and have been at our program, enhanced cleaning measures will immediately be implemented to reduced risk of further transmission.
Step 2. In the event of a reported outbreak, program activity will be suspended and all participants advised to self-isolate for a period of 10 days. Executive Staff will be in contact with Public Health Authorities – in our case Interior Health and will seek further guidance on the next steps to take.
5. Withdrawal Policy.
We shall operate on a reasonable Withdrawal policy during this time, with no consequences prior to program start. Withdrawal after program start will be refunded on a pro-rated basis.
This safety plan has been approved by the West Kootenay Football Club Board of Directors, via email conference, as of Friday 19th June 2020.