COVID 19 measures
How Spirit Gymnastics Academy is returning safely to indoor training.
On 25 Feb 21, British Gymnastics announced a roadmap for the return of gymnastics in England, following Prime Minister's announcement of a graduated easing of restrictions. You can see the full BG announcement here.
In summary, clubs and leisure centres can reopen at Step 2 (not before 12 April). Under 18s, including pre-school lessons and parent and child groups, will be able to resume, providing social distancing and hygiene measures are in place. Over 18s are only permitted to train individually at this stage (or with other adults from the same household).
Over 18s will be able to train in groups with social distancing from Step 3 (not before 17 May).
Coaches can give physical support, but only under certain very strict conditions.
So all this means that we are planning to reopen on 12 April, and sessions will look very similar to those we had last Autumn - social distancing, lots of hygiene measures and limited physical contact. We will announce our new timetable as soon as we can.
How are we allowed to return?
On 10 July 2020, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) issued its guidance for providers of grass-roots sports. The governing body, British Gymnastics (BG), has been monitoring government guidelines, and has its own "Step Forward Plan" giving guidance to clubs on how they can reopen. There are a number of conditions we must meet in order to be allowed to resume operations, which are detailed here. Spirit Gymnastics Academy has also introduced our own extra precautions on top of the direction from the government and BG.
Government and BG guidelines state the following restrictions and precautions are in force:
- Centres must make their own COVID 19 specific assessments based on their individual circumstances and publish these on their websites (this page). See also the risk assessment below.
- We must adopt specific COVID 19 cleaning and hygiene procedures and increase the frequency of these actions. We have copious cleaning materials and volunteers will be cleaning regularly between sessions and at the end of each day.
- We are allowed 1 person per 100 square feet. This is to ensure an adequate flow of ventilation. Our building can theoretically hold more than 50 people under this rule, but we are limiting ourselves to about 40 people at a time to ensure we don't get close to the limit.
- BG have said that we can create "bubbles" of gymnasts of up to 15. These bubbles must stick together, and gymnasts cannot transfer between bubbles until further notice. A coach can take more than one bubble for lessons (not at the same time), but once allocated, coaches should also stick to the same bubbles. Our training plan and timetable has been designed to meet this requirement.
- Clubs should display signs as appropriate to their individual situation. BG have supplied a good stock of up to date signs to remind all gym users of the necessary measures and behaviours, which we have placed around the gym and domestic spaces. We also have other posters sourced from the NHS, the Department for Education and the Health and Safety Executive.
- Social distancing must be maintained. The current rules are 2 metres where possible, or if not possible a minimum of 1 metre with extra precautions. This means that coaches and gymnasts are not allowed to make contact, and in turn this means that we are currently limited in what we can do during training. Our lessons have been planned to conform with this condition, for example the main floor has been divided into boxes of 2m x 2m like a chessboard. Gymnasts will remain inside their own box during training. We will continuously review what we are allowed to do during training, but please be assured training will NOT be simply lots of conditioning! A lot of thought has gone into designing the training programme - see our Facebook page for an idea of what to expect.
Partnership training returns
On 16 September 2020, British Gymnastics announced that they had received approval from the Government for their Team Sport Action Plan, and that training in partnerships would be possible again once clubs had met the new strict conditions.
We have updated our COVID-secure measures in accordance with BG instructions and partnership training resumed on 18 September. Every gymnast who wants to work in their partnership must complete an opt-in form before such training will be permitted. Gymnasts and Parents/Guardians can change their mind at any time and opt out if they wish. If this applies, members must tell us straight away so that the training plan can be amended.
Anyone feeling any symptoms of COVID 19 should STAY AWAY FROM THE GYM. Under no circumstances should you turn up and risk infecting anyone else. If you have any symptoms, stay at home and follow NHS advice.
On arrival at the gym, we will use a non-contact temperature sensor to give us an indication and reassurance. Currently a temperature above 37.9 C is defined as a raised temperature. However, note that a raised temperature by this method is only one indicator, and will depend on the specific circumstances (eg someone cycling to gym on a warm day is likely to be slightly hotter than someone arriving in an air conditioned car). Common sense will prevail.
Anyone who starts to show COVID symptoms while in the Academy will go to the isolation area until a family member can collect them. They should then contact the NHS on 111 and report possible COVID symptoms. Provided social distancing measures have been maintained, it should not be necessary for other members of the bubble to go home, but be aware further action may be required by NHS Test and Trace.
What happens if someone else in the club gets ill?
If a gymnast, coach or other club official develops COVID symptoms, they should refer themselves to the NHS as above. Current government guidance is that they will be told to get a test and then isolate for 14 days - if this happens to you, please inform us in complete confidence using firstname.lastname@example.org. If this person is a coach or gymnast who has had recent contact with other coaches and/or gymnasts, we will inform the individuals affected directly, so that they can look out for symptoms in themselves.
Please note, this does not automatically mean that an entire class will have to isolate - unlike schools, we are able to reduce the risk using limited numbers, social distancing and good ventilation. Just because one member of a class develops symptoms, this does not mean everyone will.
If another member of a gymnast's family develops symptoms, that household will be told to isolate and therefore the gymnast will be expected to stay away from the Academy. The likelihood that the family member has infected the gymnast, who has in turn infected other gymnasts or coaches, is low because of the COVID-secure measures we have in place.
NHS Test and Trace
The government requires us all to comply with NHS Test and Trace. Therefore it is everyone's responsibility to report to the NHS if they develop COVID 19. Test and Trace might then need to know whom you have been in contact with - you will need to refer back to us to find out who was in the gym at the same time.
If asked by NHS Test and Trace to supply contact information, we will give them the minimum information they need to contact anyone who has been at the gym at the same time as the infected person. Your statutory rights under GDPR are not affected by this, and we will only supply the information required by law to the people who need it.
Hygiene, cleaning and sanitising
We are aiming to keep the gym as a clean space. All coaches, gymnasts and volunteers will be required to sanitise on arrival and departure, and at regular intervals while on the premises. Equipment will be cleaned regularly.
We have plenty of soap, hand towels and sanitiser. Face masks are not required in gyms and leisure centres in accordance with government guidelines, and coaches are not required to wear face masks while coaching, in line with BG guidelines. Nevertheless, we have a stock of face masks and other PPE for the use of our staff and volunteers, if they wish to use them.
We have adopted a modified timetable, which will run initially from 7 September (when schools return). All members have been emailed to check preferences, and gymnasts have been grouped into "bubbles" in line with DCMS and BG guidelines. Gymnasts are not permitted to move between bubbles. Coaches are permitted to teach more than one bubble, but social distancing remains in place. We will continuously monitor the guidelines and will review the timetable when we are able to do so.
We are taking registrations for Pre-school lessons which we hope to restart after the October half term holiday. However, we're sorry but currently we are unable to offer Adult gym, Gymfit or FreeG. We hope you understand we are doing our best in the circumstances and we will re-introduce these lessons as soon as we can. Please continue to monitor our social media pages for the latest news.
If you don't feel ready to return to training yet, perhaps because you have a vulnerable family member, please let us know. At the start of lockdown we promised no child would lose their place as a result of COVID 19, and we stand by that pledge. But if a gymnast does not come back to training we need to know your situation - whether you still want to return, just not yet, or whether you wish to stop doing gymnastics and free up your place to someone else. Please contact us at email@example.com if either of these situations applies to you.
Arriving and departing
Please watch our video on Facebook and Instagram to get an idea of how we will control the flow of gymnasts arriving and departing. There is a one way system in force, please arrive as close as possible to your start time, and if necessary please wait in the car, or if not in a car please observe social distancing while waiting. Sorry, but only gymnasts and staff are allowed inside the building.
Please do not line up outside the gym until 5 minutes before your start time. If you miss your start time we're sorry, but you may not be able to enter the gym depending on the progress of your "bubble".
Note that the pick-up is from a different place to the drop-off - your gymnast will emerge from the fire exit to the left of the main entrance. Parents of smaller children may wish to stand outside to collect them, but please maintain social distancing. PLEASE drive safely around the car park.
Rules for gymnasts for a safe return to training
Gymnasts should wear clean kit to every session. Personal items (eg phones) will remain in storage trays. Gymnasts must bring their own (full) water bottle - we want to avoid multiple trips to the kitchen if possible. Gymnasts will be expected to store all their clothing and belongings in a tray on arrival, so travel light! Gymnasts will not be permitted to share blocks, so tops should bring their own blocks to every session.
There is a strict rule on toilet visits - only one person at a time. Hands must be washed and dried thoroughly after visiting the toilet. Anyone who coughs or sneezes should try to do so into the crook of their elbow, and they will then be sent immediately to the toilet to wash and sanitise.
Our expectations on standards have not changed as a result of COVID - normal standards still apply. Hair in a bun, no jewellery, appropriate and clean training kit, nails kept short and so on. Foundation gymnasts are permitted to wear t-shirts. Competition gymnasts are expected to wear leotards. If in doubt about the expected standards, see the membership pack on the members page of this website.
All our equipment is checked annually, and is in date for maintenance. We will use only the equipment we need, and all equipment will be cleaned regularly. Gymnasts will not be permitted to share chalk, blocks or other personal items.
Health and Safety
All normal H&S rules apply. In addition to the extra cleaning, our rules and procedures on fire, COSHH, water safety, first aid etc remain in place. Note that our staff will adhere to COVID 19 guidelines on self-protection before administering first aid, unless in an extreme, critical life-saving situation.
Communication with parents
All administration will be done by email or by phone. Ensure you have allowed both firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com in your emails, and if in doubt check your junk folder. We are also introducing a new administration system called Love Admin in time for the new Academy year in September, which will make communication and administration easier and more efficient. But the bottom line is we need parents to stay in touch with us, just as much as you need to hear from us. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any concerns or questions.
"The communication has been excellent with constantly changing rules. It's really thorough and informative." - Gym parent