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COVID-19 Resources For Rugby Clubs And Schools

COVID-19 Resources For Rugby Clubs And Schools

Government Guidelines On Outdoor Sporting Activities – Northern Ireland (January 2022)

All outdoor sport, whether organised formally by your local sports club or informally by a group of friends, is permitted.

To determine the maximum number of people permitted to attend or participate in an outdoor sporting activity/ event, the organiser or operator must carry out a risk assessment.

Outdoor sporting activities/ events of 30 people or fewer do not need a risk assessment.

Full Government Guidelines: “Coronavirus (COVID-19) Regulations and Guidance: What They Mean For You.”

Updated Sport NI COVID-19 Guidance is available here.

Government Guidelines On Outdoor Sporting Activities – Republic Of Ireland (January 2022)

On Friday January 21st 2022 the Government made an announcement in relation to Public Health Measures.

The full announcement can be accessed here: gov.ie – Government announces that most of the public health measures currently in place can be removed (www.gov.ie)

As set out in the announcement a large number of the public health measures currently in place can be removed. Key items in relation to sport & physical activity are as follows:

1.       Formal requirements for physical distancing (2m) removed

2.       8pm closing time for sporting events removed

3.       Capacity restrictions for outdoor sporting events removed

4.       Capacity restrictions for indoor sporting events removed

5.       Seated only spectators at indoor sporting events removed

6.       Use of pods for indoor sporting activities removed

7.       Use of a COVID pass to access indoor events removed

The Government have reiterated the need for ongoing close monitoring of the virus. Sporting bodies should continue to risk assess individual activities and events. This includes the continued implementation of good hygiene practices along with recommending symptomatic individuals do not participate in or attend sporting activities.

Ø  Mask Wearing: The requirements for mask wearing in settings where currently regulated for will continue until February 28th 2021.

Ø  Close Contacts: This continues to follow the current advice for those with symptoms, cases and close contacts as announced by the government on 12 January 2022

Water Breaks

The IRFU and provinces would like to advise that due to the easing of public health measures, water breaks will no longer take place during rugby matches.

This is in addition to compliance with all guidelines issued by Sport Ireland and the Northern Ireland Executive in recent days.

These latest guidelines are also available on the COVID-19 Resources For Rugby Clubs And Schools page on IrishRugby.ie

Players are encouraged to use their own individual bottle where practicable.

Health Questionnaires 

In line with a move towards personal judgement and responsibility sports may wish to begin to unwind the ongoing use of health questionnaires for training and events from October 22nd.

Clubs using the IRFU’s RugbyConnect system for attendance tracking at training are asked to note that the health declaration option has been removed from this function.

Clubs who wish may continue to use a sample declaration as follows:

“I confirm that I am well and, to the best of my knowledge, have no current symptoms of COVID-19. If I begin to feel unwell, or develop symptoms of COVID-19, I will not attend any upcoming training session/match without first consulting my COVID-19 Club Compliance Officer.”

How can clubs and schools help to keep each other safe throughout the 2021/22 Season?

The IRFU are encouraging a #ProtectAndPlay approach to continuing safe behaviours for the 2021/22 season.

#ProtectAndPlay posters and signage design will be available to clubs from October 22nd onwards.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A PRINTABLE #PROTECTANDPLAY POSTER FOR YOUR CLUB

The IRFU believes every precautionary measure that can be taken must be taken to keep the rugby community safe.

Club members who have developed new symptoms, including cold or flu symptoms are advised not to attend their rugby club and contact their GP.

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued work and vigilance in delivering on your club’s COVID-19 Health & Safety Plan.

Frequently Asked Questions:

COVID-19 Fixture Impact Form:

The COVID-19 Fixture Impact Form should be used when any of the following affects the ability of a club to field a team in a competitive fixture.

• A confirmed case of COVID-19
• A suspected case of COVID-19 (where a player has been referred for testing by a GP/Public Health)
• Contact tracing has determined the need for players to restrict their movements

The form should be emailed to the competition’s designated administrator/manager immediately after any of the above situations are confirmed. Please note, a club does not have the authority to cancel a match. Matches are only cancelled on the basis of medical advice or instructions from Public Health. In the event that a match is called off, the competition’s manager/administrator will notify all parties.

PLEASE NOTE: If completing this form after 5pm on a Friday also send a text/whatsapp to 087 6167461 to notify that the form has been submitted to ensure the entry is detected in a timely manner

Updated Resources:

Please note, a club does not have the authority to cancel a match.

#ReadyForRugby Support Webinars:

No Plan, No Play

Published: May 25th, 2020

Updated: January 25th, 2022

The Return to Rugby Guidelines outlined here are created to be implemented in response to COVID-19. The main objective is the safe return to rugby for all members and communities.

These recommendations have been based on the advice of both Governments, National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), Health Services Executive (HSE), National Health Service (NHS), World Health Organisation (WHO), and European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC).

The IRFU also gained advice from other sporting bodies who are at varying stages of reopening their societies. It should be noted that this is a living document and will be revised periodically following updated advice from the above organisations.

Adult players, parents/guardians of underage players, spectators and other club members must make an informed individual decision regarding returning to rugby based on their age, their own medical history, and the medical history of those living in their household.

Published May 29th, 2020 / Updated June 25th

Clubs must complete the COVID-19 Safety Planning Stage and confirm a COVID-19 Club Health & Safety Plan with their province to resume any rugby.

Clubs may only resume training and rugby activities in accordance with government protocols.

These protocols are being considered on an ongoing basis at government level and the IRFU will communicate any update with clubs through the COVID-19 Provincial Leads.

IRFU Return To Rugby Guidelines will be superseded at all times by:

  • Government of Ireland’s Roadmap To Reopen Society & Business
  • Northern Ireland Executive’s Coronavirus Recovery Plan
  • Government of Ireland’s Return To Sport Expert Group & Sport Northern Ireland Framework for Return to Sport

The IRFU have written directly to schools to advise on resources for a return to rugby. Click here for more information. 

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus2 (SARS-CoV-2). Most people (8/10) infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Symptoms include (but are not limited to):

  • Cough
  • Breathing Difficulty
  • Fever/High Temperature
  • Sore Throat
  • Runny Nose
  • Flu like symptoms
  • Rash
  • Loss of smell/taste

Detailed general information on coronavirus is outlined in Appendix 1- Coronavirus

What can I do as a player?

Players have a responsibility to act in a safe and responsible manner while at the grounds. All players/participants should be advised to:

  • Make themselves aware of the symptoms of COVID-19 and monitor their own wellbeing
  • Participate in club induction, and any training provided by the COVID-19 Club Safety Officer
  • Read and follow the club’s COVID-19 Club Health and Safety plan
  • Practice a high level of personal hygiene
  • Keep a contact log of direct contact with other people
  • Complete Pre-Return to Rugby Personal Assessment Declaration prior to every training session and give to COVID-19 Club Compliance Officer

A Pre-Return To Rugby Personal Assessment Declaration is available in Appendix 2 – Personal Assessment Declaration

Detailed Guidelines for Players and Participants are outlined in Appendix 3 – Player Guidelines [Updated June 8th 2021]

What can I do as a coach?

Coaches have a responsibility to ensure that training activities and club operations do not cause unnecessary risks to players and the wider community. In addition to their responsibilities as an individual, they shall achieve this through:

  • Liaising with the nominated COVID-19 Club Compliance Officers
  • Participating in COVID-19 training as required
  • Planning training activities to align with those permitted at any given time
  • Educating teams and reinforce good personal hygiene and etiquette

Detailed Guidelines for Coaches are outlined in Appendix 4 – Guidelines For Coaches (Updated June 8th 2021)

What can I do as a parent/guardian?

Parents and guardians play an important role in the process of returning to rugby.
They will be critical in communicating and monitoring behaviours in our younger players.

  • Please see guideline documents should you have any queries regarding children returning to training
  • The COVID-19 Club Compliance Officers and the club will support them through this process
  • IRFU/provincial branches will support clubs both nationally and provincially to achieve this

Detailed Guidelines for Parent and Guardians are outlined in Appendix 5 Guidelines For Parents & Guardians (Updated June 8th 2021)

What can I do if I’m planning on running an event?

Clubs are reminded that events are only permitted in line with all government restrictions and protocols.

Detailed Guidelines for Adult Based Events are outlined in Appendix 6 – Adult Event Guidelines (Updated June 8th 2021)

Detailed Guidelines for Children And Youth Based Events are outlined in Appendix 7 – Child Event Guidelines (June 8th 2021)

Additional Guidelines for Clubs are outlined in Appendix 8 – Club Guidelines

Additional Guidelines for COVID-19 Club Safety Officer are outlined in Appendix 9 – Safety Officer Guidelines

What can I do as a match official?

Click here for Guidelines For Match Officials. 

COVID-19 Safety Planning Stage

COVID-19 Safety Planning forms the first and most important stage of the IRFU’s Return To Rugby Guidelines For Clubs.

Its objective is to ensure safety measures are taken before activities can resume in rugby clubs.

It recommends that clubs take the following measures:

  • Appoint a COVID-19 Club Safety Officer and COVID-19 Club Compliance Officers
  • Avail of Training & Education Support
  • Complete COVID-19 Health & Safety Plan (inc. Risk Assessment)
  • Have a COVID-19 Safety Plan

Clubs must complete the COVID-19 Safety Planning Stage and confirm a COVID-19 Club Health & Safety Plan with their province to resume any rugby.

Detailed Guidelines on The COVID-19 Safety Planning Stage are outlined in Appendix 10 – Safety Planning Stage

Recommended Roles & Responsibilities For COVID-19 Club Safety Officers are outlined in Appendix 11 – Safety Officer Role

Recommended Roles & Responsibilities For COVID-19 Club Compliance Officers are outlined in Appendix 12 – Compliance Officer Role

A COVID-19 Health & Safety Plan Template (inc. Risk Assessment) is included as Appendix 13 – Health & Safety Plan Template

COVID-19 Health & Safety Operating Procedures For Clubs is included as Appendix 14 – Operating Procedures

Reduced Activity, Non-Contact, Contact Stages

All on-pitch elements of a return to rugby for clubs will be guided by the Government of Ireland’s Return To Sport Expert Group as well as Sport Northern Ireland Framework for Return to Sport.

Irish Rugby is working towards a graduated return to rugby for clubs. It proposes commencing with reduced activities and closed skills before progressing to non-contact versions of the game.

The IRFU summary roadmap offers an outline of this graduated return, but this does not mean it is directly aligned to the phases and steps of easing restrictions at government level.

Contact rugby is categorised as a ‘close physical contact’ sport and is currently not permitted to resume until Step 5 (Northern Ireland Executive) and Phase 4 (Government of Ireland) of government protocols.

What can Clubs do in the Non-Contact Stage? (From Wednesday 1st July, 2020)

From Wednesday 1st July: Clubs who have completed the COVID-19 Safety Planning Phase of their return to rugby may enter the Non-Contact Rugby Stage of the roadmap.

A ‘No plan, no play’ policy remains strictly in place. Clubs must confirm with their province that COVID-19 Club Health & Safety Plan has been completed before they can resume any rugby activity.

This stage will allow for skill development and include a provision for tag rugby and touch rugby.

Numbers Ratio Players to Coach:                 

  • Under U12: 16 players to 2 coaches
  • Above U12-U18: 20 players 2 coaches
  • Above U18: 15 players to 2 coaches

Session Duration:

  • 60 mins max

Content:

  • Non-contact skills-based activities
  • Non-contact game forms (Touch & Tag)
  • 7 v 7 on ½ pitch

Strict social distancing of 2 metres, the continued completion of Pre-Rugby Personal Assessment Declarations and safe behaviours including hand hygiene, cough etiquette must be adhered to at all times throughout this stage.

What can Clubs do in the Contact Stage? (From Monday 20th July)

From Monday July 20th: Clubs who have completed the COVID-19 Safety Planning Phase of their return to rugby may enter the Contact Rugby Stage of the roadmap.

This stage is a graduated return to contact. While continuing with skill-based activities, no scrummaging or mauling will be permitted in the early part of this stage. It will build with controlled contact development towards a defined contact training block to ensure games may commence in early September.

Numbers Ratio Players to Coach:                 

  • Under U12: 16 players to 2 coaches
  • Above U12-U18: 20 players 1 coaches
  • Above U18: 15 players to 2 coaches

Session Duration:

  • 70 mins max

BUILDING FOUNDATIONS PHASE

Content: w/c 20th July – 1st August

  • Skills based activities
  • Unopposed set piece and team
  • Fitness
  • NO SCRUMMAGING OR MAULING IN THE FIRST WEEKS

BEGINNING OF CONTACT PREP PHASE

Content: from 1st August onwards

  • Controlled contact development: Build-up use of pads and shields to progress.  Work in grids or drills of 2 to 3 participants progressing from walking, jogging to running.
  • Control contact development. Working in small numbers on 1 to 1 contact scenarios with controlled gradual progression, examples;
    • Open play: 1v1tackle, 2v1 ruck, 3v2 defence etc.
    • Scrum: 1v1, 2v2, 3v machine, 3v3, 5v machine, 5v5 8v machine, 8v8, etc.
    • Lineout: unopposed working from 3 players progress to 7 and then add opposition etc (limit the amount of time mauling).
  • Building contact: Impact with bump, targeting contact entry points only
  • Contact limited numbers and time.
    • Unit Forward (8 players)
    • Unit backs (7 players)
    • Phase play (varied eg 6v4, 7v5, 10v5, 10v8, 7v7, 15v5 etc.)
  • Contact gradual progression to reflect the reality of the game and duration of session. Therefore, you may build in a 10 to 15min hit out for the session.
  • Possibly friendly – warm-up 29th, 30th of August.
  • Initial fixtures September 5th 6th (In cooperation with National and Provincial competition committees)

Training and Education on COVID-19 Safety Planning is available to all clubs as they complete their return to rugby in 2020.

The COVID-19 Safety Planning Stage is the first and most important stage the IRFU’s Return To Rugby Guidelines For Clubs.

Its objective is to ensure safety measures are taken before activities can resume in rugby clubs.

In order to resume any rugby activity, clubs must complete the COVID-19 Safety Planning Stage and confirm a COVID-19 Club Health & Safety Plan with their province.

COVID-19 Training & Education Resources For Clubs:

 

  1. IRFU Return To Rugby Guidelines For Clubs:

The IRFU Return To Rugby Guidelines For Clubs themselves are a comprehensive tool for clubs completing the COVID-19 Safety Planning Stage of their return to rugby. 

As well as an overview of the process, they offer general information on coronavirus as well as specific guidelines For players, coaches, parents/guardians & events.

In order to complete the COVID-19 Safety Planning Stage, clubs must complete a COVID-19 Health & Safety Plan, including a risk assessment. There are two key resources within the guidelines to help with this process.

  • COVID-19 Health & Safety Plan Template
  • COVID-19 Health & Safety Operating Procedures

The COVID-19 Health & Safety Plan Template provides a step by step process for clubs to complete their plan.

It offers clubs complete control in the measures they want to set out while ensuring that all areas are addressed. It has been prepared by industry experts currently specialising in the field of coronavirus risk management.

The COVID-19 Health & Safety Operating Procedures are a companion document to the template and provide examples of best practise in risk management for clubs to use in their planning.

Appointed COVID-19 Club Safety Officers have a wide variety of backgrounds when it comes to health & safety experience. These operating procedures are ideal for officers who may have less expertise, but still needed to be guided by best practise in their approach.

The best advice for clubs is to familiarise themselves with these documents as much as possible for availing of further support.

in a club focused way and give COVID-19 Club Safety Officers with a wide variety of expertise some of the tools they need to

It also includes a number of key documents which will form part of the plan including a risk assessment and necessary declaration forms for members.

 

  1. Guidelines For COVID-19 Club Safety Officers and COVID Club Compliance Officers.

Roles, Responsibilities and Guidelines are available for all appointed officers.

All COVID-19 Club Safety Officers must register with their respective COVID-19 Provincial Lead. This will enable them to receive further support for themselves and their club in COVID-19 Safety Planning.

 

  1. IRFU Training & Education Webinar

All COVID-19 Club Safety Officers have access to an IRFU Training & Education Webinar.

The purpose of the webinar is to give officers access to experts in the fields of health & safety, law, medicine and rugby ahead of putting COVID-19 safety measures into practice in their club.

Presentations Include:

  • IRFU Return To Rugby Guidelines Overview, IRFU COVID-19 Project Team
  • Insurance & Liability Overview, IRFU Legal Counsel Sean Brassil
  • From The Pitch Out – Making Behaviour Safe In Clubs, IRFU Medical Director Rod McLoughlin
  • Best Practise For Safety Planning In Clubs, Eamon O’Boyle and Associates

Experts also address questions submitted directly from clubs.

This Webinar took place on June 9th but is available to all appointed officers.

 

  1. Case Studies:

A series of case studies are being prepared to walk clubs through the required steps of completing the COVID-19 Safety Planning Stage. These case studies will be a mix of both expert led and peer-to-peer learning tools.

They will be in both video and written Q&A form and will be available to all clubs.

The first in this series will be:

A Step By Step Guide To Completing a COVID-19 Health & Safety Plan For Rugby Clubs.

Further case studies will be announced in due course.

 

  1. COVID-19 Provincial Support

Each COVID-19 Club Safety Officer will have direct access to dedicated support within their province.

Each COVID-19 Club Safety Officer must register with their COVID-19 Provincial Leads as soon as they are appointed in order to avail of support.

Clubs must also confirm to their COVID-19 Provincial Lead that they have completed the COVID-19 Safety Planning Stage before they are permitted to resume any rugby activity.

COVID-19 Provincial Leads also provide dedicated email support for any questions an officer may have throughout the process. Answers to a range of frequently asked questions are readily available with further access available to additional industry expertise where necessary.

 

  1. Sport Ireland

Sport Ireland are also  providing a number of training & support resources to the sector in relation to Covid19.

They will making an online version of their “COVID-19 Compliance Officer Training” available to clubs.

Published June 5th 2020/Updated June 11th 2020

The purpose of the COVID-19 Health & Safety Operating Procedures For Clubs is to assist in the completion of the clubs’ own COVID-19 Health & Safety Plan.

Clubs are asked to consider the following areas in completion of their COVID-19 Health & Safety Plan.

  • Preparation for Resumption
  • Cleaning to Prevent Contamination
  • Training & Communication
  • Physical Distancing Measures
  • Catering and Refreshment arrangements
  • Actions for Suspected Cases
  • Use of PPE
  • Preparation for Training
  • Traveling to Training
  • Use of Facilities
  • Conflict Resolution and Non Compliance Actions
  • First Aid
  • Club Health and Safety

A COVID-19 Health & Safety Plan Template (inc. Risk Assessment) is included as Appendix 13 – Health & Safety Plan Template

COVID-19 Health & Safety Operating Procedures For Clubs are outlined in full as Appendix 14 – Operating Procedures

The advice and guidance in IRFU Return To Rugby Guidelines For Clubs lessens the potential of an insurance claim related to possible COVID-19 infection.

It is of paramount importance, as outlined in the Guidelines, that clubs understand and implement all health advise provided by the Government of Ireland (ROI clubs) or the Northern Ireland Executive (NI clubs).

Clubs are reminded that a number of existing roles within their club require similar mitigation to COVID-19 Club Safety Officer and Compliance Officers e.g. Club Welfare Officer.

The IRFU advises anyone with a concern in relation to their potential liability to discuss the matter with their Club Secretary, who can examine the Club Constitution to identify if specific indemnities are provided to them.

The IRFU reminds clubs to ensure that they have appropriate Public Liability Insurance in place before any return to rugby activity.

Taking the right steps is essential – clubs must recognise that insurers may try to refuse to pay any claim, or cancel, terminate or avoid club insurance, if a club fails to deliver appropriate health and safety guidelines.

Published June 5th 2020 / Updated June 11th 2020

If you need any further information on behalf of your club, please email your provincial support:

Connacht Rugby: fraser.gow@connachtrugby.ie

Leinster Rugby: carol.maybury@leinsterrugby.ie

Munster Rugby: aidancleary@munsterrugby.ie

Ulster Rugby: clubsupport@ulsterrugby.com

For the latest information on COVID-19 go to:

https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/c36c85-covid-19-coronavirus/

https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/campaigns/coronavirus-covid-19

The COVID-19 Fixture Impact Form should be used when any of the following affects the ability of a club to field a team in a competitive fixture.

• A confirmed case of COVID-19
• A suspected case of COVID-19 (where a player has been referred for testing by a GP/Public Health)
• Contact tracing has determined the need for players to restrict their movements

The form should be emailed to the competition’s designated administrator/manager immediately after any of the above situations are confirmed. Please note, a club does not have the authority to cancel a match. Matches are only cancelled on the basis of medical advice or instructions from Public Health. In the event that a match is called off, the competition’s manager/administrator will notify all parties.

PLEASE NOTE: If completing this form after 5pm on a Friday also send a text/whatsapp to 087 6167461 to notify that the form has been submitted to ensure the entry is detected in a timely manner

Please note, a club does not have the authority to cancel a match.

As per IRFU COVID-19 Suspected/Confirmed Case Response Guidance:

If a club member has COVID-19 symptoms, they should self-isolate and contact their GP. The club can continue as normal at this stage. For the purposes of this form, a club member should only be considered a suspected case once they are referred for testing.

If a GP advises there is no COVID-19 concern, both the person and the club can continue as normal. If a club member is sent for a test, they must inform their GP if they have taken part in club activity and ask for advice on what the club should do.

If a club member is sent for a test, they must inform their GP if they have taken part in club activity and ask for advice on what the club should do. As a precautionary measure, any other symptomatic individuals and unvaccinated members of the training group/pod should restrict their movements until there has been a negative test result until contact tracing has been completed by Public Health and the person has not been deemed a close contact who needs to
self-isolate. At this stage any other individuals who are exempt under Public Health contact tracing guidelines need not restrict their movements.

If a club member tests negative, the training group/pod can resume and the person can return once symptom free for a period of 48 hours.

If a club member tests positive, their training group/pod should shut down and await advice from the Public Health Authority. If a club member has elected to undergo PCR testing without medical advice, the club should only take action based on the outcome of the test.

It is important to note that contact tracing is done by the local public health authority.

This page contains all the relevant documents currently available to clubs. Each document should be in read in the context of the overall IRFU Return To Rugby Guidelines For Clubs on the website or issued to clubs.

Appendix 1 Corona Virus General Information
Appendix 2 Pre-Return To Rugby Personal Assessment Declaration 3.0
Appendix 3 Guidelines For Players
Appendix 4 Guidelines For Coaches
Appendix 5 Guidelines For Parents/Guardians
Appendix 6 Guidelines For Events (Adult Based)
Appendix 7 Guidelines For Events (Children & Youth)
Appendix 8 Guidelines For Clubs
Appendix 9 Guidelines For COVID-19 Club Safety Officer
Appendix 10 Guidelines For COVID-19 Safety Planning Stage
Appendix 11 Recommended Roles & Responsibilities For COVID-19 Club Safety Officer
Appendix 12 Recommended Roles & Responsibilities For COVID-19 Club Compliance Officers
Appendix 13 COVID-19 Health & Safety Plan Template (inc. Risk Assessment) – WORD DOC
Appendix 14 COVID-19 Health & Safety Operating Procedures For Clubs
Appendix 15 Return To Rugby Contact Stage Guidelines
Appendix 16 Guiding Principles in Assessing Contact Risk of Rugby during The COVID-19 Pandemic
Appendix 17 Guidelines For Match Officials (Updated June 15th 2021)
Appendix 18 COVID-19 Suspected/Confirmed Case Response Guidelines
Appendix 19 COVID-19 Fixture Impact Form (Sample)
Appendix 20 COVID-19 Match Management Guidelines 2.0

Other Downloads: