Return to Play Protocol, News (Milton Stars Hockey Club)

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Return to Play Protocol
Submitted By Mercedes on Monday, July 13, 2020
Hello All,

As we continue to keep a close eye on the medical experts’ advice and waiting for the Governments decision of facilities reopening, we will continue to put a game plan in place. We hold on to hope that the season will start in October as planned, but we are fully aware this may not be a possibility. We have entertained many different scenarios on how this upcoming season may look. 





I just want to reassure all current ORHL families and anyone looking to join the ORHL, we take the safety of our players very seriously and this will always be our number one priority. We will not have a concrete plan in place until we are assured by the medical experts the safety of our families is not at risk. We will adjust to the “new norm” mandated by the facilities and the Government. Together we will make it work.We look forward to puck drop hopefully real soon, getting back together with our teammates and continuing to create memories.

Please continue to watch for updates on our website. Stay safe and healthy everyone, hoping to see you all in the rinks real soon. 

Regards,
Kevin McKinnon
President/Commissioner Ontario Rep Hockey League 
[email protected] 
cell (416) 791 8750



The ORHL Return to Play Protocol policies are intended to enable a safe return to hockey. These policies are based on the current Provincial and Regional regulations and current public health requirements and directives.  These Protocols may be updated at any time.  Please continue to reference the most recent version and updates which will be posted on the ORHL Website at www.orhl.net.  Please see Appendix A for links to Government Resources as guidelines they may vary from region to region. 


Hockey Club Protocols - Compliance with Regulations

All activities both on and off the ice must adhere to all federal, provincial and municipal laws, regulations, by-laws and orders as they may exist. This includes but is not limited to compliance with:

• Physical distancing measures
• Health and safety regulations 
• Size of permitted gatherings 
• ORHL rules, policies and procedures

Hockey Club Operations 

Each hockey club, team and coach must implement and comply with the current version of ORHL protocols. 
The Acknowledgement, Informed Consent, Release, Indemnity, and Assumption of Risk regarding COVID-19 form provided as part of these Protocols must be completed by each participant in club or team activities (including coaches, players and volunteers both on and off the ice).  See Appendix B.  This form must be completed prior to the start of participation in club or team activities. The club/team must keep this form on-file for each participant. It is not necessary to submit this to the ORHL, but may be requested by the ORHL at any time.  Any non-implementation or non-compliance may have consequences and could jeopardize status and insurance coverage.

Education

Each club/team must ensure that staff, coaches, players, parents, and volunteers receive education on new safety and hygiene protocols within the club/team as well as Government approved information on ways to limit the spread of COVID-19 including:
• Respiratory etiquette
• Hand hygiene
• Physical distancing
• Use of Personal Protective Equipment (e.g. face masks)

Note: Please see Appendix A for samples of these education tools 

Teams meetings should be held to review the protocol details ahead of players starting on the ice.

Response Plan Each club/team must develop a COVID-19 Response Plan which must include provisions: 
 1. Designating groups of individuals to oversee the implementation of health and safety guidelines (Coach, Assistant Coach, Trainer, Manager)  
2. Establishing a protocol to address situations where individuals become unwell or show signs of COVID-19 symptoms during a practice or game. 
  3. Establishing a protocol for individuals to report to club and external stakeholders (i.e. ORHL, facility management) if they have developed, or been exposed to someone with COVID-19 symptoms   
4. Establishing a protocol for the club/team to inform coaches, players, parents, members and volunteers if there has been an exposure to COVID-19 within the club/team.  
5. Establishing procedures to modify, restrict, postpone or cancel training sessions or other activities based on the evolving COVID-19 pandemic   
6. Establishing a communication plan to keep staff, coaches, players, parents, members and volunteers informed during Return to Play stages  
7. Establishing a protocol for staff, coaches, players, parents, members and volunteers after a COVID-19 diagnosis   Note: Please see Appendix C for sample COVID-19 Response Plan protocols

Facility Scheduling

Coordination with the relevant facility will be required in order to ensure that the policies of the facility allow for requisite cleaning and sanitizing.  Each club/team must coordinate with the relevant facility in order to ensure compliance with all Protocols. This includes at minimum:
•      Implementing effective measures to manage the flow of traffic in and out of the facility   ·         Parents and players minimizing the time spent at the facility before and after an activity   ·         Limit the number of parents/guardians to attend the facility and maintain social distancing throughout  
•      Ensuring that any person who enters or uses the facility maintains a physical distance of at least 2m from any other person who is using the facility 
  •      Scheduling and implementing cleaning between each training group on the ice or the use of any other facility  
•      Wiping down / sanitizing high touch areas such as entry/exit doors to the ice, etc.   
•      Following specific arena protocols.  
•      Facilitating compliance by the facility operator with the advice, recommendations and instructions of public health officials, including any advice, recommendations or instructions on physical distancing, cleaning or disinfecting

Self-Screening Measures

All individuals taking part must self-screen in accordance with current public heath guidelines before each session. Individuals must not attend any sessions or activities if they: 
•      Exhibit any COVID-19 symptoms, such as a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or other symptoms identified by health experts 
•      Have been in contact with someone with COVID-19 in the past 14 days 
•      Have returned from travel outside of Canada (must quarantine for 14 days at home)


Individuals who are considered a vulnerable or at-risk (individuals over 70 years, weakened immune system or medical conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, cancer etc.) should strongly consider their attendance at a facility.

Health Screening of Individuals

Conduct a screening protocol whereby individuals are screened on-site, on a daily basis, before participation in any activities. This screening may be conducted verbally.  The coaching staff is responsible for ensuring this screening is taking place.   See Appendix D.

Limitations on Group Sizes 

All sessions must follow provincial and local public health as well as facility guidelines with respect to the size of gatherings.  Limitation on size of training groups: Follow current Ontario Provincial guidelines regarding gathering restrictions. 

Note: Subject to facility guidelines, all individuals on the ice count as part of gathering size, including coaches and skaters.

On Ice 

All teams must comply with current Ontario Provincial Gathering guidelines. Teams should consider the following:
•      Alternating players between on-ice and off-ice training
•      Players are not permitted to contact each other on the ice 
•      Players must respect physical distancing guidelines within all parts of the facility by staying at least 2m apart. 
•      All warm-ups and off-ice training should comply with physical distancing requirements

Off-Ice Activities – Arena Protocol

1.   Facility access and traffic flow Individuals shall follow facility guidelines by using designated entry and exit doors in the facility and any guidelines to manage the flow of people within the facility. 
2.   Spectators Guidelines will be followed as outlined by each individual facility.  Many facilities will have restrictions such as the only spectators permitted at the facility being  one accompanying parent, guardian or other adult for each player under the age of 18. Anyone accompanying such an athlete is expected to follow facility guidelines with respect to physical distancing, must remain at least 2m apart, and is encouraged to wear a face mask. 
3.   Personal Hygiene Individuals should wash / sanitize hands upon entry to facility. 4.   Warm-up / Cool down Should be conducted outside following physical distancing protocols by remaining at least 2m apart. If weather does not permit warming up outside, player may (if permitted by the facility) warm-up inside in an area designated by the facility while following physical distancing protocols by remaining at least 2m apart.

Personal Protective Equipment (“PPE”)

PPE guidelines will be respected coaches/players/officials/spectators as per the individual facility requirements.  This may include, but may not be limited to the use of:

•      wearing a non-medical face mask when in open areas of facility including warming up inside the facility  

Upon Arrival at the Facility 

Procedure will be in accordance with each individual facility process.  In general, it is expected that facilities will have the following guidelines:
1.   Door Handles All efforts should be made to minimize the touching of door handles, whether it be entrances to facility, change rooms, washrooms or on to the ice.  Elbows should be used where possible.   
2.   Dressing Rooms It is expected that players will arrive at the arena in their equipment as dressing rooms showers in the facility may remain closed, except to the extent they provide access to a washroom or a portion of the facility that is used to provide first aid.   
3.   Skates On /Off Players may be instructed to put their skates on/remove skates outside of the arena or in a designated area respecting physical distancing protocols and remaining at least 2m apart.  
4.   Personal Items It is expected that personal items like hockey bags should be left in the relevant individual’s vehicle if available (in a safe and secure location) and where possible, not be brought into the arena. Players and coaches must carry their own water bottle with their name clearly marked on it.  No sharing of water bottles will be allowed.  
5.   Entry/Exit from Ice Players/coaches must follow physical distancing protocols and remain at least 2m apart from any other individual while waiting to enter and exit the ice. 

On-Ice Activities

1.   Physical Distancing - Players are required to maintain a physical distance of at least 2m from any other players and coaches during the session.   
2.   Personal Items - Players/coaches must use individual water bottles.  No sharing of these items is permitted.  Any use of towels/paper towels should be limited to single users.  If used, paper towels must be disposed of properly.  Towels must be washed after each use.   3.   Practices/Warm-ups - Social distancing must be respected.  Practice plans must be adopted to ensure this takes place.  This includes, but not limited to the reduction of group gatherings for group instruction. 
 4.   Games - No handshakes before or after the games between teams, coaches and officials.

Officials Consistent with the player and coach protocols throughout the facility. 

Physical distancing should be respected, especially in dressing rooms.  If available work with facility staff for additional rooms in multi-rink facilities.  Officials should have their own water bottles (names clearly marked on them), towels etc. both on and off the ice.  When reporting penalties, social distancing should be respected both with the timekeepers and the bench staff.   

Post-Ice Activities 

All garments (i.e. jerseys, socks, undergarments) should be washed after each use.


Appendix A: COVID-19 Education Resources

Clubs must ensure that staff, coaches, players, parents, members and volunteers receive education on new safety and hygiene protocols within the club/team school. 
Please view the following links for further information:
Ontario Public Health Public Resources: 
https://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/diseases-andconditions/infectious-diseases/respiratory-diseases/novel-coronavirus/public-resources
The following resources are also available on the Ontario Public Health website. (Please ensure you are using the most up-to-date version of these tools by consulting the address above).
Hand Hygiene: 
https://www.publichealthontario.ca/-/media/documents/ncov/factsheet/factsheet-covid-19-handhygiene.pdf?la=en
Physical Distancing:
https://www.publichealthontario.ca/-/media/documents/ncov/factsheet/factsheet-covid-19-guide-physicaldistancing.pdf?la=en
How to Self-Monitor 
https://www.publichealthontario.ca/-/media/documents/ncov/factsheetcovid-19-self-monitor.pdf?la=en
When and How to Wear a Mask
https://www.publichealthontario.ca/-/media/documents/ncov/factsheet/factsheet-covid-19-how-to-wearmask.pdf?la=en
How to Self-Isolate 
https://www.publichealthontario.ca/-/media/documents/ncov/factsheetcovid-19-how-to-self-isolate.pdf?la=en
Ministry of Health – Ontario: COVID-19 Reference Document for Symptoms:
http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/publichealth/coronavirus/docs/2019_reference_doc_symptoms.pdf
Ontario COVID-19 Online Self-assessment Tool
https://covid-19.ontario.ca/self-assessment/

Appendix C: COVID-19 Club Response Plan

The following draft information has been developed to assist clubs/teams implement a COVID-19 Club Response Plan.
1. Contact list for COVID-19 Club Oversight Group
The purpose of this group is to oversee the implementation of safety and health guidelines within the club/team. This information should be communicated to club/team members in an e-mail communication.
2. Club/Team COVID-19 Protocols
Clubs/teams must create and follow a set of protocols to deal with situations related to the COVID-19 pandemic that might occur. These protocols should be included in an e-mail to members before team activities commence. Clubs should also consult with their facility to ensure alignment between facility and club protocols. The ORHL has developed the draft information below for consideration by clubs creating their protocols.
3. Completion of ORHL COVID-19 Waiver
All individuals participating in club/team must complete the ORHL Acknowledgment, Informed Consent, Release, Indemnity and Assumption of Risk regarding COVID-19 (“COVID-19 Waiver”). Failure to do so means that individual must not participate in club/team activities. See Appendix B.
Any individual participating in club/team activities on and off the ice is required to complete a COVID-19 waiver. This includes, but not limited to: Players, Coaches, Assistant Coaches, Trainers and Managers etc.
4.An individual becomes unwell with symptoms of COVID-19 
• If an individual becomes unwell with symptoms of COVID-19, or if someone is aware of an individual that becomes unwell with symptoms of COVID-19, that individual must immediately stop participation in all team activities.
• The individual should be isolated from all others in a well-ventilated area, or outside and provided with a non-medical face mask if one is available
• The individual shall be sent home and instructed to follow public health guidelines regarding self-isolation and testing
• The facility should be informed in order to determine if any areas need to be closed off and/or require additional cleaning/disinfecting
• A member of the COVID-19 Oversight Group should be informed of the situation and should contact the parent/guardian to determine if next steps are being taken regarding testing for COVID-19
• Any individual has been tested for COVID-19 must not participate in club/team activities on or off the ice while waiting for the results of the test
• The club/team will consult the session participation tracking sheets to inform other club/team members who might have been in close contact with the individual
• Any player/coach who were in close contact with the individual should not participate in activities and should follow public health guidelines until the diagnosis of COVID-19 is ruled out by health professionals
5. Club/Team COVID-19 Communication Plan
• If an individual tests’ positive for COVID-19, they should inform a member of the club/team COVID-19 Oversight Group
• The COVID-19 Oversight Group will work where requested with the facility and public health officials to assist in contact tracing. Session participation tracking sheets may be used to assist public health officials in informing other club/skating school members who may have been in close contact with the individual
• Any persons who were in close contact with the individual should not participate in any on or off-ice activities for 14 days and should follow public health guidelines regarding self-isolation and testing
• It is recommended to also inform all team families of a positive COVID-19 result within the club/team setting
• The club/team should inform and work with the facility in the case of a positive COVID-19 result and determine if any additional cleaning/disinfecting should be performed as per the facility’s guidelines
• The team will notify the club and the club will notify the league of a positive COVID-19 diagnosis.
6.Return to club/team activities following illness
• If no test was performed, or the COVID-19 test was negative, the individual may only return to club/team activities once they no longer have any symptoms of COVID-19
7. Return to club/team activities following COVID-19
• Following a positive COVID-19 test, an individual must follow all public health guidelines regarding return to activities. 
• Based on the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, the ORHL/club/team must be prepared to follow public health, municipal/provincial government and sport recommendations regarding modifying/restricting/postponing or canceling activities
• Clubs should establish a program cancelation policy if one does not exist already
• Members should be informed as soon as possible of any modifications/restrictions or cancelations
• Clubs/teams must keep any modifications and restrictions in place until advised that it is safe to resume activities by public health, government or sport officials
8. Public Health Guidelines
Club/team members should follow all public health guidelines regarding COVID-19. These may include:
• Any members who themselves have travelled outside of Canada, or has someone in their household who has travelled outside Canada must self-isolate and not participate in activities for 14 days
• Any individual who has been exposed to someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19 should self-isolate and is not permitted to participate in activities for 14 days
• Any individual with symptoms of COVID-19 is not permitted to take part in club or skating school activities
• Any individual who has someone in their household showing symptoms of COVID-19, should not participate in activities
9. Club/Team COVID-19 Communication Plan
Clubs/team should ensure effective communication is taking place with their membership during the Return to Play Stages. The following should be considered.
1. Ensure up to date contact information for all club/team members is on-file
2. Determine best method to distribute information (i.e. social media, e-mail etc)
3. Determine the responsibility for communication within the club/team during the Return to Play stages (i.e. staff, volunteer, COVID-19 Oversight Group)
4. Establish consistent cadence of communication to maintain connection with club/team members during Return to Play (i.e. Weekly. Bi-weekly)
5. Consider holding a virtual Town Hall / Webinar to deliver information on Return to Play protocols and answer any questions / concerns
6. Consider where communications/documents can be stored on a website or social media site for future reference by members
7. Designate member of COVID-19 Oversight Group to follow up with any individuals who become unwell with symptoms of COVID-19 during team activities
8. Determine paper or virtual storage location for daily session participation tracking sheets 
9. If it is determined that a member has been tested for COVID-19, inform all members that may have been in close contact with that individual
11. Ensure the facility and the ORHL are informed if a diagnosed with COVID-19


Appendix D: Health Screening Questionnaire

This questionnaire must be completed by each individual prior to participation in any on or off-ice team activity. This questionnaire may be completed verbally. The answer to all questions must be “No” in order to participate in each on-ice activity.
1. Do you have a fever? (Feeling hot to the touch, a temperature of 37.8C or higher) - Yes No
2. Do you have any of the following symptoms?
• Cough (continuous, more than usual) - Yes No
• Shortness of breath - Yes No
• Runny nose, sneezing or nasal congestion (not related to other known causes such as seasonal allergies etc - Yes No.
• Sore throat - Yes No
• Difficulty swallowing -Yes No
• Lost sense of taste or smell - Yes No
3. Have you travelled outside of Canada or had close contact with anyone that has travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days? - Yes No
4. Have you had close contact in the past 14 days with anyone with a new cough, fever or difficulty breathing or a confirmed case of COVID-19? - Yes No
If any individual answers “Yes” to any of these questions, they are not permitted to participate in any on-ice or off-ice activities.
This Health Screening questionnaire has been developed based on the current Ontario Ministry of Health Self-Assessment Tool.

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