RETURN TO PLAY: LEADERS AND ADMINISTRATORS FOR MEMBER ORGANISATIONS



As Saskatchewan eases restrictions and works towards a “new normal” for sport, Provincial Unions, Sub-Unions, Member Clubs, and all members have responsibilities in the return to play.

This page is designed as a resource for leaders and administrators starting off our return. The sections below break down the steps required at the Sub-Union and Member Club level to apply for sanctioning to return to in-person rugby activities and ensure a safe return, based on ‘Rules of Engagement‘ in the Return to Play plan.

    1. Preparing to Return: these are the safety measures required at Provincial Union, Sub-Union, and Member Club levels; once these items are completed Member Organisations can apply for sanctioning for in-person rugby activities.
    2. Managing Return: these are the administrative measures set up prior to any in-person rugby activities resuming (i.e. registration, attendance tracking); Member Organisations must ensure these measures are in place and all teams are abiding by Rules of Engagement as per their Sanctioning Approval Agreement.
    3. Ensuring Safe Return: these are the facility and rugby operation measures required to keep risk low and all members safe; Member Organisations must pass regular safety checks (every 2 weeks) in order to ensure all in-person rugby activities are meeting requirements laid out in Return to Play plan.

Additional information on the Saskatchewan Rugby Return to Play Plan and resources relating to COVID-19 can be found here

The full Saskatchewan Rugby Return to Play plan can be found here

Preparing to Return

A Sask Rugby appointed a provincial COVID-19 Manager will act as a point of contact to both Rugby Canada, Sask Rugby's Member Organisations, and members of the public. They will coordinate with Member Clubs and Sub-Unions to provide information and strategic support.
Sask Rugby COVID-19 Manager: Sena Debia
Contact: covidmanager@saskrugby.com

Members Clubs must identify and appoint one or more COVID-19 Safety Coordinator(s) to be responsible for implementing the Saskatchewan Rugby Return to Play plan (and all other relevant guidance, advice and instruction regarding COVID-19). Clubs must then inform Saskatchewan Rugby of the appointment when seeking approval for sanctioning, and provide contact details of the individual (name, phone number, email).

Sub-unions will then each form committees of Club COVID-19 Safety Officers and work with the Sask Rugby appointed COVID-19 Manager.

COVID-19 Manager Job Description
COVID-19 Safety Coordinator Job Description

It is highly recommended that Sub Unions and Member Clubs create a communications plan to regularly reinforce current Provincial or Regional public health advice to your membership, supporting them to make informed decisions about their personal and household risk. These communications may also include reminders of ‘Rules of Engagement’, including the Right of Refusal, and any other specific instructions that support reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission and represent best practice

Club, Sub-Union, and Provincial Union Presidents as well as appointed COVID-19 Managers and Coordinators must complete World Rugby's COVID-19 Return to Play Awareness for Administrators. As stated by World Rugby, this is a resource developed to guide a safe return to rugby activities. Certificates from the course must be submitted to covidmanager@saskrugby.com.

World Rugby COVID-19 Courses

It is highly recommended that any individual required to approve Return to Play or COVID-19 Safety Plans complete World Rugby’s COVID-19 Return to Play Awareness for Administrators and any individual responsible for delivering in-person rugby activities completes World Rugby’s COVID-19 Return to Play Awareness for Coaches & Players. If Sub Unions and Member Organization are going to ask board and staff to complete either course, these certificates should be stored with the Saskatchewan Rugby Office.

As part of their fiduciary duties, the Board of each Provincial Union, every Sub Union and every Member Club is responsible for the oversight of risk for their rugby organization. Returning to rugby is optional.

The National Insurance Policy will not cover “Any actual or alleged liability, injury, damage, loss, cost or expense arising directly or indirectly out of, caused by, resulting from, in consequence with or in any way involving or related to any virus or communicable disease.”. This exclusion also applies to Directors and Officers Insurance for Rugby Canada, each Provincial Union, each Sub Union and every Member Club.

All Sub Unions and Member Clubs will need to complete the Rugby Canada Risk Assessment Tool to identify, assess and document risks associated with return to play.

Rugby Canada Risk Assessment Tool
Risk mitigation for outdoor activities

All Member Clubs will need to complete a COVID-19 Safety Plan that effectively takes all necessary precautions to mitigate, transfer or avoid the identified risks both common to all sporting activities and unique to your rugby and facility operations.

All items required for a Safety Plan from Member Organisations in the Rugby Canada Risk Assessment Tool under Mitigation Checklist: COVID-19 Safety Plan. If you complete both pages of the Rugby Canada Risk Assessment Tool you satisfy both the Risk Assessment and COVID-19 Safety Plan requirements. The guide below goes into further detail about what a COVID-19 Safety Plan looks like and the rationale behind these requirements.

Rugby Canada Risk Assessment Tool
Club Safety Plan Guide

All Sub Unions and Member Clubs  must review and update their Emergency Action Plans (EAP) in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Your updated EAP must include:

  • Location & access to first aid kit
  • Emergency Services access points
  • Assembly points (e.g. in the event of lightning & severe weather)
  • Location of nearest hospital and medical clinics
  • COVID-19 First Aid Modifications (available here)
  • Contact details for the Club COVID-19 Safety Coordinator and Sask Rugby COVID-19 Manager
  • Enhanced Cleaning Procedure document (available here) outlining products that will used when delivering in-person activities. Products must have a DIN (What is a DIN?)

NOTE: We recommend Member Organisations print a copy of COVID-19 First Aid Modifications to keep at the fields. Anyone providing first aid must wear appropriate PPE (mask, gloves), this should be indicated on your EAP.

For Member Organisations using RRU or NSRU facilities, below are pre-COVID-19 EAP templates available for your use. These must be updated to meet Return to Play requirements.

RRU facility EAP
NSRU facility EAP

Once all other steps are completed, Member Clubs can submit the following information and compliance documents to Saskatchewan Rugby to be considered to return to play.
  • Name and contact details of appointed COVID-19 Safety Coordinator
  • World Rugby’s COVID-19 Return to Play Awareness for Administrators Certificates for the Member Club’s President (or equivalent) and appointed COVID-19 Coordinator
  • Completed Risk Assessment
  • Completed COVID-19 Safety Plan
  • Updated Emergency Action Plan, including Enhanced Cleaning Procedures document
  • Completed Sanctioning Approval Form, including:
    • Contract from facility operator/owner indicating right of access
    • Specified Membership Types (i.e. Junior or Senior Non-Contact, Minor Intro to Contact, etc.)

Additionally, all Sub Unions and Member Clubs are responsible for ensuring that they identify and seek approvals from any other stakeholders required to resume rugby activities legally and safely. This may include Provincial or Local Governments, Health Authorities, facility owner or operator.

Submit all documentations to covidmanager@saskrugby.com to begin Assessment #1.

Once your Organisation has completed these items, the COVID-19 Manager will provide a Sanctioning Agreement that must be signed and returned. The next steps outlining administrative measures are in Managing Return, below.

Managing Return

All participants must be registered prior to attending any in-person rugby activities. This applies to players, coaches, therapists, and officials. As the Rugby Canada registration portal, provided by Sportlomo, includes a Participant Agreement that has been updated to explicitly address the known risk of COVID-19, it’s most important that registration is completed by the participant or the participant’s legal guardian.

Non-contact player categories are available at new, provincially approved prices. All participants must be registered by the National Insurance Program, even for non-contact. 

Should Sask Rugby progress to low-contact, players will need to 'upgrade' their membership to the 'contact' player categories. Given the exceptional circumstances, Rugby Canada will credit the non-contact membership paid against the cost of 'upgrading' to the contact membership.

   

Rugby Canada Registration Portal

Any Provincial Union or Member Organization delivering in-person activities must adopt and facilitate daily COVID-19 attestation and agreements to be completed by all participants (i.e. coach and players). Daily attestations will be safely store by Sask Rugby or the Member Clubs for at least 2 years.

To reduce touch points and to easily store responses, daily attestations will be hosted online through SportLomo. Rugby Canada and Sask Rugby are working to produce guides and webinar sessions to help Clubs navigate these new features.

Guide to Online Attestations - coming soon

Any organisation delivering in-person activities must record all participant's (i.e. coaches and players) attendance. This applies to both intra-club (e.g. training and in-house games) and inter-club (e.g. leagues) activities.

To reduce touch points and to easily store attendance records, attendance will be tracked online on SportLomo. This allows club administration and team management to assign registered players to training groups within a team session, track attendance (including no-shows), and host daily attestations online. Rugby Canada and Sask Rugby are working to produce guides and webinar sessions to help Clubs navigate these new features.

If not utilising the Rugby Canada registration portal, details of how attendance tracking is being collected and stored must be clearly detailed in the Province's Return to Rugby plan and the Member Organisation's safety plan.

Guide to SportLomo Attendance Tracking - coming soon

Ensuring Safe Return

Until further notice, all rugby activities are to take place outdoors only. In relation to those rugby activities, there are restrictions on facility use:
  • Only washrooms may be made available for participant use (i.e. no changerooms)
  • Water fountains may only be used to refill containers, no participants are permitted to drink directly from facility fountains or faucets.
To effectively plan for and manage maximum event gathering restrictions, for all in-person activities organisers (i.e. Member Organisations) must plan and clearly communicate to all participants:
  • Access points of the facility (i.e. car parking)
  • Any implemented flow patterns
  • Any implemented staggered arrival/departure times
Organisers of in-person activities will also have to consider other users that may be able to freely access fields and facilities, and plan clear communications or signage. This may include coordinating arrival and departure times with other permitted user groups, if the facility owner has not provided time or distance spacing between groups. The need to manage facility use and access is greatest in the early phases of return, when in-person gatherings are limited to small groups and physical distancing must be maintained.

Signage resources

Pre-approved costs of signage can be covered by Sask Rugby, submit requests to the COVID-19 Manager at covidmanager@saskrugby.com for coverage.

Help Reduce the Spread of COVID-19
About COVID-19

Hand Washing – Reduce the Spread of COVID-19
Physical Distancing

For any and all in-person activities, organisers (i.e. Provincial Union or Member Organisations) must document the enhanced cleaning protocols that will be implemented for any high touch areas (i.e. handrails, door handles, counter tops, sinks, taps, toilets, etc.). This may include "transferring" responsibility to third-party providers (e.g. private cleaners, facility cleaners). However cleaning protocols are delivered, this must be included in the COVID-19 Safety Plan. Coronaviruses are one of the easiest types of viruses to kill with the appropriate disinfectant product when used according to the label instructions. Health Canada has published a list of hard surface disinfectants that are likely to be effective for use against COVID-19. Use only approved hard-surface disinfectants that have a Drug Identification Number (DIN). A DIN is an 8-digit number given by Health Canada that confirms the disinfectant product is approved and safe for use in Canada.

Environment Cleaning and Disinfecting Guidelines (Government of Sask)
Disinfecting Surfaces (Government of Canada)

Any Member Organization planning to deliver in-person activities, must first consider which participant groups are best served by resuming in-person activities at each phase of Returning to Rugby. In addition to considering if those players are at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, also consider their ability to understand and follow physical distancing instructions.

In Steps 2 and 3, you are required to maintain training groups for all sessions in a two-week period. This limits the expansion of a player’s “bubble”. When assigning players to training groups, consider if traditional forwards and backs groupings are necessary or if training groups can be more focused on social or family groupings. This might be a consideration for youth players that have largely been excluded from their social groupings with school closures.

Rule of Two: To ensure an open and observable environment for all interactions between adults and participants, it is best practice to have two appointed adults present and included in the maximum event gatherings permitted at that time. This is especially recommended if participants are minors or vulnerable adults. If short of club coaches or volunteers, organisers can ask a parent to be present throughout the session. The second adult should be able to easily hear and see all interactions of the coach.

It is standard practice for in-person rugby activities sessions to have a designated First Aid Responder to manage first aid supplies and handle any first aid emergencies. World Rugby offers a First Aid in Rugby (FAIR) course to educate bystanders (i.e. not medical professionals) on how to respond during an emergency.

Until further notice, the designated First Aid Responder must wear a non-medical mask or cloth face covering for the duration of the in-person session. This will enable the First Aid Responder to quickly and safely attend to anyone needed assistance. The designated First Aid Responder must be educated on how to correctly wear a non-medical mask.

**Please note, medical masks are not to be sourced for rugby activities as they remain essential for health care providers and others providing direct card to COVID-19 patients.**

 

As stated in World Rugby’s Safe Return to Rugby document, due to the movement involved in sports, the physical distance should be kept as generous a distance as possible. In addition to planning what your session will consist of, plan how you will use the outdoor space available to you and how players will safely move throughout the session.

While social distancing measures remain, all team meetings and huddles must take place outdoors where all individuals are able to practice physical distancing. If being held in-person, team meetings or huddles should be brief. If greater communication is needed, consider other options including digital/online meetings.

World Rugby COVID-19 Return to Play Guidelines
Physically distanced training: Field Map Examples

Any Provincial Union or Member Organization delivering in-person activities, must document the enhanced cleaning protocols that will be implemented for any shared equipment that will be used.

As advised by World Rugby’s Chief Medical Officer Eanna Falvey, Gilbert’s instructions for cleaning match and training balls are adequate to kill the bacteria. Before and after all in-person sessions, rugby balls must be cleaned by “a soft cloth, a light detergent and warm water”.

If instructing players to bring their own ball for their own use, you must ask players to follow Gilbert’s cleaning instructions before arriving at each session.

Any other rugby equipment planned for use must be cleaned before and after with the appropriate disinfectant product according to the label directions. Health Canada has published a list of hard surface disinfectants that are likely to be effective for use against COVID-19. Use only approved hard-surface disinfectants that have a Drug Identification Number (DIN). A DIN is an 8-digit number given by Health Canada that confirms the disinfectant product is approved and safe for use in Canada.

Enhanced Cleaning Procedure Template
Gilbert Ball Care Guide