September 20, 2020
Dear Athletes, Parents, and Coaches,
As I am sure that you are aware, the incidence of COVID-19 in our community has been increasing slowly but fairly steadily for the past several months. This past week the 14-day average case rate/100,000 population exceeded 15, the limit the NSCF board formalized over a month ago as the cutoff for group outdoor training. After much discussion and deliberation, the board has decided to continue to offer outdoor group training for three reasons:
Since the time the board first initiated protocols for group training, understanding of COVID-19 spread has progressed to the understanding that the virus is primarily spread through respiratory transmission, which mask wearing and social distancing limit effectively.
For this reason, we believe that strict compliance with our training protocols, which include proper social distancing for athletic activities (10 feet), mandatory use of masks at all times when athletes are not actively exercising, and group sizes limited to no more than 10 participants that are kept intact for the duration of a training period effectively lowers the probability of transmission.
Of all the training and competition opportunities currently being offered by clubs and schools in our community, including football, volleyball, swimming, and cross country running, we believe that the NSCF’s outdoor training program lies at or near the safe end of possible group activities where the likelihood of transmission of the virus is lowest.
The NSCF board fully appreciates the health risks of COVID-19, will continue to carefully monitor the incidence of COVID-19 in our community, and will act to limit training when it feels that the risks outweigh the benefits of our activities. While the club will do what it can to keep participants safe, no activity is without risk; we urge all participants and/or their parents to decide whether the risk is acceptable to them.
If you have questions, concerns or comments please do not hesitate to contact me.
President, NSCF Board of Directors
NSCF Covid Addendum to normal waiver/release
NSCF is committed to the safety, health, and well-being of its community members, including skiers participating in NSCF programs (“Participants”). To confront the unprecedented challenges and risks presented by COVID-19, NSCF is following recommendations and guidance issued by Fairbanks North Star Borough (FNSB), state, and federal authorities and agencies, including the Alaska DHSS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Participants are expected to understand and acknowledge the dangers presented by COVID-19, which is contagious and believed to spread mainly from person-to-person contact. The risks
associated with COVID-19 may include, but are not limited to, illness and, in some cases, death. There is
currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 and it is unlikely that a vaccine will be available during the 2020-21 ski season. Participants must share in the responsibility to protect themselves and other community
members from exposure to and/or infection with COVID-19. The Registration outlines Participants’ general responsibilities for maintaining health and safety. In addition to those responsibilities and others, Participants are expected to act honorably and comply with the following guidelines developed to help reduce the risk of exposure to and/or infection with COVID-19. These guidelines are incorporated into the Registration and are applicable to all Participants.
As a condition of my NSCF program registration, I affirm that I will comply with the following guidelines:
Testing and Health Monitoring
I understand and agree that when arriving to participate in NSCF programs, I can affirm that at the time of
arrival, and within the last 14 days: 1) I have not tested positive for COVID-19, 2) I have not exhibited symptoms of COVID-19 (including, but not limited to, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea) 3) I do not
believe that I have been exposed to anyone who tested positive for COVID-19, and 4) I do not believe that any person with whom I have been in close personal contact, including members of my household or intimate
partner) have exhibited symptoms of COVID-19 within the last 14 days.
I understand and agree to self-report to my coach or instructor if I experience any of the above COVID-19 symptoms at any time after registering for an NSCF program. I understand that I can self-report by calling or by sending an email to the contact provided during registration or by my coach or instructor.
I understand and agree that I must notify my coach or instructor as soon as practically possible, but within 24 hours if I experience any COVID-19 symptoms or I test positive for COVID-19.
I understand that prompt communication with NSCF may be critical for reducing the spread of COVID-19 and ensuring the safety and health of community members and I agree that I must respond to communications from NSCF within 24 hours.
I understand that I am strongly encouraged to get a seasonal flu shot, when available.
Face Coverings and Distancing
I understand and agree that I must wear a cloth face covering at all times while in an indoor area of any NSCF facility. If I have a medical condition that limits my ability to wear a cloth face covering, I may request accommodation by contacting Chris Puchner, NSCF Board President (firstname.lastname@example.org). Medical documentation may be required.
I understand and agree that I must wear a cloth face covering before and after class or practice when standing in a group, or on my way to or from my vehicle or other transportation.
I understand that cloth face coverings are not required when inside my personal vehicle with the door closed.
Isolation and Quarantine
I understand and agree that if I experience symptoms of COVID-19 or am advised by my coach or instructor to be tested for COVID-19 that NSCF may request or require that I quarantine at home or not attend class or practice for a specified period of time.
I understand and agree that if my test results are positive for COVID-19, NSCF may require that I quarantine at home or not attend class or practice for a necessary period of time, as determined by my coach or instructor or local authorities to protect other participants and community members.
I understand and agree that if I test negative for COVID-19, NSCF may still request or require that I quarantine at home or not attend class or practice and comply with further instructions or public health guidelines to protect other participants and community members.
I understand that if NSCF requires that I quarantine at home or not attend class or practice it does not constitute termination of the Registration.
I understand and agree that if NSCF requires me to isolate or quarantine, I may not physically attend classes or practice. I agree to communicate directly with my coach or instructor to discuss appropriate alternatives. I agree to contact NSCF if I need additional assistance communicating with my coach or instructor.
Building Access and Cleanliness
I understand that I may not enter any other NSCF building, e.g. timing building, other than the warm up hut and the Ski Center (big red building) and then only if it has been approved by the FNSB prior to Registration or if announced at some point during the season.
I understand and agree that I must maintain appropriate physical distancing when passing employees of NSCF or the FNSB who are providing direct service to NSCF or FNSB facilities. This includes custodians, maintenance, coaches, instructors, and program coordinators.
I understand and agree that I must comply with all posted signage regarding social distancing, face coverings, and other COVID-19 directives while participating in NSCF programs inside buildings.
I agree to comply with any additional guidelines issued by NSCF to maintain the health, safety and well-being of NSCF community.
NSCF recognizes that information about the pandemic is evolving, and its strategies for reducing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting Participants from exposure must evolve as new information becomes available. NSCF retains the right to adopt additional guidelines as necessary, to close NSCF programs, or make modifications to NSCF program offerings for reasons beyond its control, including but not limited to the circumstances outlined on NSCF program registration forms. Further, NSCF may terminate any Registration for noncompliance with this Addendum, other provisions of the Registration, or violation of any other NSCF policy or guidelines. To request an accommodation for an exemption from or modification to any of these guidelines or protocols, please contact NSCF Board President Chris Puchner (president@NSCfairbanks.org).
Proposed Coronavirus Guidelines for NSCF Training Activities
Below is a coronavirus alert level chart from the State of Alaska used by the Alaska School Activities Association (see http://www.newsminer.com/opinion/community_perspectives/tough-decisions-ahead-for-alaska-youth-sports/article_56316c0a-ce1f-11ea-a885-37e3a69a42d4.html) to recommend guidelines for sports activities at differing levels of coronavirus incidence. The chart uses cases/100,000 population (averaged over the preceding 14 days) to allow proper statistical comparison between localities of different populations; this data, updated daily, is available online from the State of Alaska at https://coronavirus-response-alaska-dhss.hub.arcgis.com/datasets/table-2c-geographic-distribution-of-case-rates/data .
For example, as of Aug. 2, in the last 14 days the state reported 88 new cases in the FNSB for an average of 6 cases/day; with a population of 95,898 this translates to an average daily incidence (case rate) of 6.6 cases/100,000 population, Intermediate Alert Level in the table above. For the same period the Municipality of Anchorage reported 916 new cases for an average of 65 cases/day; with a population of 291,841 this translates to an average daily incidence of 22.4 cases/100,000 population, High Alert Level.
The Alaska School Activities Association (ASAA) recommends all high school sports transition to outdoor conditioning only with social distancing at the High Alert Level (>10 cases/100,000 people per day averaged over 14 days). Guidelines adopted for NSCF training activities are:
● A fourteen-day average of less than one case /100,000 population: business as usual, including indoor practices, and use of the cave.
● A fourteen-day average of one to less than five cases/100,000 population: outdoor activities only, groups of up to 15 permitted with social distancing of 10 feet, masks to be worn when not actively exercising.
● A fourteen-day average of five to less than 15 cases/100,000 population: outdoor only, groups of up to 10 permitted with social distancing of 10 feet, masks to be worn when not actively exercising.
● A fourteen-day average of 15 or greater cases/100,000 population: online only , for instance weekly emails containing training schedules, phone calls to check in and, possibly, meeting outdoors in very, very small groups (two or three athletes) to check in with a coach or go for a run or a rollerski (or a ski, once it snows). Also, as long as the coaches are on payroll, email or phone calls to check-in and offer guidance to the athletes.
The fourteen-day average daily incidence per 100,000 will be evaluated weekly and activities adjusted according to the guidelines above. This policy may be modified in response to changing circumstances with the pandemic.
In addition to the numerical guidelines above, coaches and athletes will abide by the following:
● Keep cohorts the same (no switching between training groups) and, if possible, keep siblings in the same cohort to limit the extent of possible exposure to the virus.
● Coaches to exercise social distancing from athletes, wear masks when feasible, and to monitor compliance of same by the athletes.
● No indoor gathering before or after outdoor training.
● If coaches or athletes are sick, even with cold-like symptoms (for most people COVID-19 is a cold), stay home. Symptoms also may include fatigue, sore throat, loss of sense of smell/taste, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea in addition to fever/chills/cough/muscle aches/shortness of breath. If you develop any of the above symptoms contact your healthcare provider for appropriate evaluation and testing, if indicated. Coaches and athletes who develop symptoms and tested negative should coordinate with their health care provider for return to activity guidelines. Coaches and athletes who have had close contact with a person that has tested positive should be quarantined for 14 days from the time of exposure and should contact their health care provider to see if testing is indicated. Coaches and athletes who have tested positive should contact their health care provider for guidance on discontinuation of isolation and return to activity (as of Aug. 2nd the CDC recommendations are A.) 10 days since time of test if asymptomatic or B.) 24 hours without fever, improvement of symptoms AND at least 10 days since onset of symptoms). Athletes (or their parents) are required to report any of the above to a coach immediately and coaches will report athletes or themselves to a member of the SDOC.
The Nordic Ski Club of Fairbanks is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion and enjoyment of cross country skiing. For more information visit us at www.nscfairbanks.org or find us on Facebook.