Atlantis Artistic Swimming Club Return to Sport Policies
Atlantis Artistic Swimming Club considers the safety of its members to be the highest priority, and all policies captured herein, as well as future policies and actions, will be guided by the desire to return to sport safely. Atlantis Coaches and staff are not health or communicable disease experts, and so will refer to, and rely on, guidance and direction from the Nova Scotia Health Authority, the Nova Scotia Government, Canada Artistic Swimming, and Nova Scotia Artistic Swimming, regarding Atlantis’ return to sport.
COVID-19 and Pool Safety
Are swimming pools safe?
COVID-19 has a fragile lipid outer membrane, and is therefore highly susceptible to soaps and oxidants, such as chlorine3. According to the Centre for Disease Control (USA), there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the use of pools, hot tubs or spas. Proper operation maintenance, disinfection with chlorine or bromine of pools should inactivate the virus (CDC 2020)
As new information and research becomes available, the general knowledge about pool safety will continue to increase and will influence decisions made by facility management. General pool safety is among the ongoing challenges for all partners to manage, and for the Canadian aquatic community, a safe and responsible return to the pool is critical.
CDC4 : Water and COVID-19 Facts
Myrtha Pools: COVID-19 Swimming Pool Study; Professor Vincenzo Romano Spica, (Professor of Hygiene at the University of Rome “Foro Italico”)
When should I stay home?
It is the responsibility of all participants to undertake their own personal risk assessment and determine whether they are willing and able to return to sport at this time.
Individuals who are at an elevated risk for COVID-19 infection, or those who live with someone who is high risk, should take any necessary further precautions to protect themselves. All club members should work together to support and implement these further measures to ensure an inclusive and safe environment for all.
Individuals should not attend an in-person artistic swimming program or activity if, in the last 14 days, the individual, or anyone in their household has:
- Experienced symptoms or signs of COVID-19 (unrelated to pre-existing conditions such as allergies or asthma), and not been cleared by Provincial Public Health (811) or a negative COVID-19 test.
- Had close contact with someone who has a suspected, or confirmed case of COVID-19, and has not been cleared by a negative COVID-19 test.
- Travelled outside of the Atlantic Provinces
How do I report a COVID-19 related absence?
The health and safety of all members is top priority at Atlantis. In order to provide a safe environment with COVID-19, all members need to be completing daily “self” health checks before attending training sessions. The daily “self” health checks will be completed through the Team Snap platform. The health check option will only be accessible to complete 8 hours before the start of the scheduled practice. Members are expected to report accurate and honest information. Athletes and coaches will not have access to the facility if their daily health check is not completed.
Report any COVID-19 absences directly to the Atlantis Head Coach.
The Head Coach will inform team coaches of the absent swimmer, fill out necessary paperwork, and follow-up with return to sport protocols. The Head Coach will also work with individuals to arrange at-home online training when possible. Athletes can rest assured that they will not be penalized for following COVID-19 guidelines and staying home when necessary.
What if an athlete develops COVID-19 symptoms during a training session?
If an athlete develops COVID-19 symptoms during a training session the following steps must be taken:
- The athlete will be removed from the group, and their parent/guardian will be contacted to pick them up from the facility. The unwell individual will wear a mask and social distance while waiting for pick up.
- The rest of the training group will be asked to sanitize their hands, while coaches sanitize the training area if necessary.
- The coach of the team will immediately report the situation to the Head Coach.
- The athlete can return to in-person practice when they have been cleared by Provincial Public Health (811) or a negative COVID-19 test.
What is the training protocol for a positive test?
If any coach or athlete tests positive for COVID-19, the following steps must be taken:
- The athlete or coach is removed from the training group immediately
- All team members and affected personnel are notified, while protecting the individual’s privacy.
- Training for any affected training group(s) may be suspended and/or placed in self-isolation, according to direction from Provincial Public Health Officials. At-home online training may continue in lieu of in-person training.
- The local public health authority will provide further management recommendations which may include further testing, and contact tracing.
- In-person training can resume when members are cleared to return to the training group by Provincial Public Health (811), or be symptom-free for 14 days.
The "New Normal"
What will a "normal" practice look like?
- Athletes and coaches who have performed a “self” health check via the Team Snap platform (and have no symptoms), arrive at the training facility at their specified arrival time.
- As per current Nova Scotia guidelines, all members must wear a mask when entering training facilities.
- All members must respect and comply with facility guidelines (for example, sanitizing hands upon entrance, following directional arrows, and maintaining a social distance of 2m, etc.)
- Athletes should come to practice wearing their bathing suit under their clothes to limit the use of facility change rooms, and proceed straight to the pool deck or specified training location with all of their belongings.
- During training athletes and coaches will adhere to social distancing when possible (coaches will help guide and enforce social distancing).
- After training, athletes must follow facility guidelines for change rooms, which could vary from facility to facility. Athletes will need to shower at home as the use of facility showers is not permitted.
- Parents/guardians should arrive promptly at the specified pick up time, and wait in the car to avoid groups gathering inside the facility. If an athlete needs help, parents/guardians may enter the facility to assist them.
What equipment will be needed for practice?
Athletes are not permitted to share any training equipment without proper sanitation between uses. Athletes must have their equipment clearly labelled to avoid accidental sharing. Athletes need to have the following equipment with them at every training session:
- Water Bottle (make sure this is filled up with water before leaving the house, as facilities have blocked access to their water fountains. For longer practices, or hot days, it is recommended to pack multiple water bottles or a very large bottle).
- Flip Flops (to be worn at all times to limit contact between feet and the deck)
- Yoga Mat (to be used during land training to eliminate contact with the floor)
- Other team specific equipment (a list will be provided to each team at the start of the season).
It is recommended that all equipment be cleaned thoroughly after each training session. This can be done with a disinfecting spray or wipe. Bathing suit, towel, and workout clothing should be put into the washing machine after each practice.
How will social distancing impact artistic swimming?
Nova Scotia Artistic Swimming (NSAS) has developed a 3-phase system to guide clubs through social distancing measures while being able to adhere to the constantly changing Public Health protocols.
Nova Scotia Public Health recommends that social distancing must be maintained with anybody who does not live in the same household.
- Physical distancing of at least 2m will be maintained between participants, with greater distances for high levels of exertion. No contact between participants.
- Ensure physical distancing measures are clear to all participants with the use of visual aids around the training facility.
- Athlete equipment must also be placed 2m apart.
Nova Scotia Public Health allows groups of up to ten to gather without physical distancing.
- Training cohorts of up to 10 swimmers can be formed, and it is recommended that they remain the same for the duration of the session/season.
- Physical distancing will be maintained between different training cohorts. The number of training cohorts allowed in the training area will be determined by the facility.
- Coaches must maintain a physical distance of 2m from the swimmers, as they may be involved with more than one cohort. Coaches should wear a mask when physical distancing is not possible or practical. If coaches are required to make contact with the athletes for training purposes, they must follow proper hygiene protocol.
- Athletes from the same cohort will be encouraged to face the same direction while training to avoid face to face breathing.
- Athletes from the same cohort may place their equipment less than 2m apart.
Nova Scotia Public Health increases the number of people allowed to gather without physical distancing. Or eliminates social distancing recommendations altogether.
- Physical distancing between cohorts is eliminated.
- Physical distancing between athletes and coaches is eliminated.
- Athletes may begin to do face-to-face breathing during training/choreography.
Club Fees and Refund Policy
What happens if the season is interrupted or shortened due to COVID-19?
Season Interruptions are events that cause temporary stoppage in a season but do not end it completely. In the event that COVID-19 causes temporary interruptions in the course of a season, and depending on the scope and duration of these interruptions, the club will take necessary actions (modified programs, adjusted schedules, etc.) but will otherwise attempt to maintain status quo.
- In the event that an individual athlete (or small group of athletes whose absence does not in itself interrupt the club) is temporarily unable to attend due to COVID-19, such as in the case of a family quarantine after travel, this will be considered in the same manner as athlete absences due to sickness, injury, travel, or other obligations. Considering the severity and duration of the interruption, the club may choose to, but will not be obligated to refund fees to individual athletes whose seasons are temporarily interrupted.
- In the event that the entire club is temporarily unable to attend regularly scheduled practices, such as in the case of a potential COVID-19 exposure at the swimming pool, the club will attempt to provide alternative arrangements such as swimming at a different facility or meeting online through video conferencing. If the disruption is temporary, or if the club is able to make adequate alternative arrangements, no refunds will be issued.
Season Cancellations are events that cause a season to end prematurely (as was the case in the spring of 2020).
- In the event that the season is cut short due to COVID-19, and that no alternative arrangements can be made to continue the season in any capacity, the club will attempt to reconcile billing to reflect only the utilized portion of the season.
- Any athlete that has prepaid for future periods will receive appropriate refunds (notwithstanding athlete withdrawals and/or breach of conduct situations).
- Refunds may be proportionate to the amount of time of the disruption, or to the magnitude of the expenses avoided due to the cancellation of the season. The club will determine, at its discretion, the appropriate way in which to issue such refunds in a manner that ensures that no athletes are disproportionately burdened and that the club’s long-term financial health is maintained.
Who do I contact with questions or concerns?
Each club is required to have a designated COVID-19 Response Coordinator. At Atlantis this role will be shared between the Head Coach and the Club Chair. The key responsibilities for the COVID-19 response team are:
- Keeping updated on policies and procedures outlined by provincial and municipal governments and public health agencies, and monitoring local daily situation reports.
- Working with training facilities to make sure that our programs comply with all public health and facility requirements, and ensuring there is proper Personal Protective Equipment (in case of an emergency) and sanitizing supplies available at each training facility.
- Track attendance, and work with training facilities and local public health unit for contract tracing if needed.
- Primary contact for participants to self-report COVID-19 symptoms or exposure,
- Modifying, restricting, postponing, or cancelling training with the Clubs Board of Directors due to an evolving COVID-19 related outbreak or emergency within the club or the facility.
- Communicating any COVID-19 information to club members, and responding to COVID-19 concerns within the club.
Return to Sport
Although the 2020-2021 season may look different than in the past, we are excited to have our swimmers back in the pool. Atlantis Artistic Swimming Club is committed to adhering to the guidelines that have been set out, so that we can have our athletes staying physically active, socializing with their teammates and enjoying Artistic Swimming in the safest way possible. Our goal is to be a pillar of support for the athletes while we navigate this “new normal” together.