Returning to Coaching: What the Next Stage Means

  • July 13, 2020

The Ontario Government has announced that multiple regions within the province will be moving into the final stage of Ontario’s Phase 2: Restart plan on July 17th. Similar to Stage 1 and 2, the provincial government will be evaluating Ontario’s progress for 2-4 weeks to see if any adjustments need to be made to ensure safety throughout the province.

This announcement is an exciting step towards some “normalcy” of everyday life. However, while this update allows more freedom for the general public, it also can pose lots of questions. So what do you need to know as a coach heading into Stage 3?

NOTE: Durham Region, Haldimand-Norfolk, Halton Region, Hamilton, Lambton, Niagara Region, Windsor-Essex County (excluding Municipality of Leamington and Town of Kingsville), Windsor-Essex County (Municipality of Leamington and Town of Kingsville only), and York Region have NOT been approved to move into Stage 3.

(UPDATED: July 29th) – As of July 31st at 12:01am, Toronto and Peel Region will transition to Stage 3.

Access your sport’s return to play guidelines and protocols

What Does This Mean?

Due to the fact that every region in Ontario has not experienced the same impact of COVID-19, not all regions are transitioning into stages at the same time.

As you are compiling your information to return-to-play, ensure that your region within the province has been cleared for a Stage 3 start.

Stage 3 begins July 17th, 2020 for approved regions.

Outdoor sports can resume as long as participants are maintaining physical distancing guidelines. Outdoor sports can still only participate in training – no scrimmages or games.

Guidelines include:

  • Prolonged or deliberate contact while playing sports is not permitted.
  • Team sports in which body contact between players is either an integral component of the sport or commonly occurs while engaged in the sport (e.g., wrestling, judo) are not yet permitted, unless the approach can be modified to prevent prolonged or deliberate physical contact.
  • Amateur and recreational sports leagues may resume so long as they do not allow prolonged or deliberate physical contact between players or if they have modifications to avoid physical contact between players.
  • Leagues must contain no more than 50 participants in total. If participants in a league exceed 50, the league may divide into smaller groups of no more than 50. Players are not yet permitted to play against players outside of their league or group.
  • Spectators at all sporting events, including professional sports, will be subject to gathering limits and physical distancing measures, with assigned seating where possible
  • Outdoor gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 100 people, subject to physical distancing of at least two metres with people from outside their households or social circles

Team sports may only be practised or played within the facility if they do not allow for physical contact between players or if they have been modified to avoid physical contact between the players.

Organized team sports that are practised or played by players in a league may only be practised or played within the facility if the league either:

  • contains no more than 50 players and does not permit its teams to play against teams outside of the league, or
  • divides its teams into groups of 50 or fewer players and does not permit teams in different groups to play against one another or against teams outside of the league.

Facilities for sports and recreational fitness activities, including gymnasiums, yoga and dance studios and other fitness facilities, may open if they comply with the following conditions:

  1. Every person who engages in sports or recreational fitness activity at the facility, other than a team sport, must maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person at all times during the activity.
  2. The total number of members of the public permitted to be at the facility in a class, organized program or organized activity at any one time must be limited to the number that can maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from other persons in the facility, and in any event, cannot exceed,

  3. i. 50 persons, if any of the classes, organized programs or organized activities taking place at the time are indoors, or

    ii. 100 persons, if all of the classes, organized programs or organized activities taking place at the time are outdoors.

  4. The total number of members of the public permitted to be at the facility in areas containing weights or exercise machines at any one time must be limited to the number that can maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person in the facility, and in any event cannot exceed 50 persons.
  5. The total number of spectators permitted to be at the facility at any one time must be limited to the number that can maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person in the facility, and in any event cannot exceed,

    i. 50 spectators, if the spectators will be indoors, or

    ii. 100 spectators, if the spectators will be outdoors.

  6. Team sports may only be practised or played within the facility if they do not allow for physical contact between players or if they have been modified to avoid physical contact between the players.
  7. Organized team sports that are practised or played by players in a league may only be practised or played within the facility if the league either,

    i. contains no more than 50 players and does not permit its teams to play against teams outside of the league, or

    ii. divides its teams into groups of 50 or fewer players and does not permit teams in different groups to play against one another or against teams outside of the league.

  8. Any equipment that is rented to, provided to or provided for the use of users of the facility must be cleaned and disinfected between each use or, where used in a game or practice, at the end of play, such as at the completion of a game or practice.
  9. Activities must not be practised or played within the facility if they require the use of fixed structures that cannot be cleaned and disinfected between each use or, where used in a game or practice, at the end of play.

(2) Facilities for sports and recreational fitness activities may open to provide space for a day camp for children that is in compliance with subsection 9 (1).

What does this mean for shared indoor spaces in these facilities?

The person responsible for a business or place that is open shall ensure that:

(a) any washrooms, locker rooms, change rooms, showers or similar amenities made available to the public are cleaned and disinfected as frequently as is necessary to maintain a sanitary condition; and

(1.b) any equipment that is rented to, provided to or provided for the use of members of the public must be cleaned and disinfected as frequently as is necessary to maintain a sanitary condition.

(2) For greater certainty, clause (1) (b) applies to computers, electronics and other machines or devices that members of the public are permitted to operate.

  • Steam rooms and saunas are not yet permitted to open.

How Does This Impact Me As a Coach?

Ensure your club or organization has all participants sign a COVID-19 waiver confirming they understand the risks of returning to sport in a pandemic environment, have not been exposed to COVID-19 (or if so, 14 days have passed), are not experiencing any COVID-19 related symptoms, and their agreement to follow the provincial sport organization’s plan.

For more information on risk management and details on waivers in the sport environment click HERE.

According to the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act:

In-person teaching and instruction:

5. (1) Subject to subsection (2), the person responsible for a business or place that is open and that provides in-person teaching or instruction shall ensure that every instructional space complies with the following conditions:

1. The instructional space must be operated to enable students to maintain a physical distance of at least two metres from every other person in the instructional space, except where necessary for teaching and instruction that cannot be effectively provided if physical distancing is maintained (spotting, etc.).

If you need to enter within that 2-mentre distance to assist your athlete, ensure that you have a mask and (if possible) gloves to maximize safety for all involved

 

 

Resources & Links

Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act: Rules for areas in Stage 3

Each Provincial/National Sport Organization throughout Canada has different return-to-play guidelines designed solely for their individual sports(s). Visit the sector-specific return to play guidelines to see what provisions affect your sport.

Don’t see your sport listed? Contact your PSO for more information.

Not sure how to reach your PSO? Visit our Contact Your Sport page.

Any equipment that is rented to, provided to or provided for the use of users of the facility must be cleaned and disinfected between each use or, where used in a game or practice, at the end of play, such as at the completion of a game or practice.

Activities must not be practised or played within the facility if they require the use of fixed structures that cannot be cleaned and disinfected between each use or, where used in a game or practice, at the end of play.

Now that Stage 3 allows the public to resume more “normal” daily activities, this does increase the risk of spreading or caching COVID-19. Even by taking all the precautions you can, it’s important to know what steps to take if someone on your team was to test positive for COVID-19. Be sure to include this in your updated Emergency Action Plan and share this information with all participants, staff and spectators involved at practices/training.

  1. If someone on your team begins to feel any symptoms of COVID-19, the first thing they should do is get tested. Ontario has various COVID-19 assessment test centres around the province.
  2. If someone feels symptoms of COVID-19 OR tests positive, they need to let anyone they were in contact with throughout the last 48hrs know. If they were at a team practice, you or your COVID-19 manager will need to contact everyone who attended that practice and let them know they may have been exposed.
  3. Anyone suspected of having COVID-19 or that was in contact with that person must stay at home and self-isolate for at least 14 days. You could be carrying the virus without knowing it. It is also suggested that you get a COVID-19 test to confirm your results.
  4. After anyone on your team has had a COVID-19 test, they can access the results online OR they can contact the clinician who ordered their test.
  5. If someone on the team tests positive, they must quarantine themselves inside their home. This means they DO NOT go outside to any public spaces until their clinician alerts them that they have completed their entire quarantine. A person who is quarantined will need to have someone pick up groceries or anything else they may need. They cannot do this on their own. As the coach, check and see if your athletes or staff have someone who can assist them in the way, if not, help coordinate someone to help with grocery drop off.
  6. Once said person is cleared to come out of quarantine and has no symptoms of COVID-19, they can return to practice.

Resources & Links

COVID-19 Symptoms and Treatment (Ontario Government)

Find a COVID-19 Test Centre (Ontario Government)

How to self-isolate (Public Health Ontario)

Access your online COVID-19 Test Results (Ontario Government) – not ALL tests will be able to be accessed online. If you cannot access your test result online, please contact the clinician who ordered your test or your primary care provider.

 

 

It’s important that your athletes are prepared for what this new version of “training” will look like. A part of keeping everyone safe will be to provide athletes and coaching staff with reliable and easy-to-understand information regarding COVID-19 safety and returning to play.

These resources include proper hand-washing, physical distancing, how to wear a mask, and other tools that they can do on their own, prior to gathering with a group. It is vital that your team alerts you or the COVID-19 team lead if they start to feel unwell. As the coach, you may be responsible for turning athletes away if their health questionnaire displays that they could be a risk to others.

Inform athletes and staff of updated emergency procedures related to COVID-19. This includes the closest assessment centre to their training field/facility. Inform them that their attendance record contact information will be used if someone were to become ill.

Knowledge is power, giving some to your athletes alleviates work on yourself and staff if everyone stays updated and informed.

As Provincial organizations are releasing their return-to-play guidelines, you as the coach will be the main contact between your club and your athletes on safety protocols and measures.

Now that we can gather in larger groups does not mean we ease up on safety and stopping the spread of COVID-19.

Some key documents you should have on you at practices going forward:

  • A COVID-19 Participant Agreement to inform the potential risk factors to all those involved.
  • An updated Emergency Action Plan with COVID-19 Assessment Centres nearby your training facilities
  • Daily Health Screening Questionnaire for athletes and staff to complete each practice
  • Hand washing station and/or hand sanitizer ready at all times
  • An attendance sheet to track who is attending practices. This should include first and last name, phone number, and email. If someone was to contract COVID-19, you would need to let everyone who was in potential contact with them that they should go get tested. This is an easy way to keep track.
  • It wouldn’t hurt to have some extra masks and gloves on hand in case there is an injury at practice that requires you to physically assist the athlete. Keep these items in the team first aid kit and make sure that those assisting the player are well protected before coming into contact.
  • With the rise of mask and glove use, we are seeing lots of litter across the province. If you or any of your athletes/staff are wearing PPE, have a garbage bag (or disposable bag) ready to properly dispose of those items after training.

Resources & Links

Participant Agreement SAMPLE (ViaSport BC)

Emergency Action Plan eModule (Available in your NCCP Locker account, under the eLearning tab)

COVID-19 Assessment Centre Map for printable version click HERE

Updating Your Waivers & Forms (Sport Law & Strategy Group)

There’s no easy way to turn away an athlete or staff member away from a practice – for any reason. However, the risk and potential consequences of not properly doing so if an athlete or staff member is suspected of having COVID-19 could be exponential. It is better to be over-cautious and find there is nothing wrong, then to have some accidently spread the virus.

One way to make these conversations easier:

  1. Have a conversation about health screening and identifying how you are feeling in a team meeting before training starts.  Let everyone know how it will work and that it is their responsibility to be truthful when declaring their health when they sign-in to practices.
  2. When having athletes sign the attendance sheet and fill out the health screening questionnaire, do it away from the rest of the group. Participants are currently still required to physically distance, so this makes it a bit easier. This way, if you need to turn someone away, you can have a private conversation away from the group.

It is important to note that these guidelines are to be used as a guide only. Nothing in this document is intended to provide legal advice. Do not rely on this document or treat it as legal advice.

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