August 11, 2020

Dear SportAbility members,

We are approaching the end of our initial planning phase for Return to Sport. Over the past few months, we have been working together with athletes, program leads, and coaches to devise Return to Sport plans for Power Soccer, Boccia, and Para Ice Hockey.

Please note that upon release of the plans, we strongly encourage all programs to begin their return to sport in the “Transition Measures” stage, as outlined by viaSport BC in their Sport Activity Chart. This is the current stage approved for sport focusing on individual skill development, with no competition and no equipment sharing. When approval to “Progressively Loosen Stages” is released, we will be updating programs with the adjusted measures and our recommendations on how to gradually move into this stage.

We intend to have the plans approved by our board by August 25th, and ready for release on August 27th. Thank you to those who responded to our requests for input and attended our virtual town halls over the course of the past few weeks—we greatly appreciate your insight and help to ensure a safe Return to Sport process for our athletes.

For more information on BC’s Return to Sport plan, please visit the viaSport BC website.

July 20, 2020

Dear SportAbility Membership,

This week, SportAbility will be hosting virtual town halls about Return to Sport. A specific meeting will be taking place for each sport.

July 21: Boccia, 6-7pm
July 22: Hockey, 6-7pm
July 23: Power Soccer, 6-7pm

We have sent out the Zoom meeting information to those who have previously indicated their interest in participating via our online survey. If you did not previously sign up to be a part of these forums but would like to do so now, please send us an email at info@sportabilitybc.ca to receive the sign-on info.

If you would like to provide any additional feedback to us, please send us an email or fill out the Return to Sport Survey here ➡️ forms.gle/Y4wWf4J9qA97vKrZ6

June 11, 2020

Dear SportAbility Membership,

We wanted to provide you with an update on SportAbility Programming and the status of our Return to Sport plans for each of our sports. At the present time, SportAbility is monitoring information from public health officials, and is in regular contact with National Sport Organisations (NSOs), Provincial Sport Organisations (PSOs), viaSport, and Sport BC.

At the request of the Province of B.C., viaSport has released a set of sector wide guidelines on how to resume sport while operating safely during this pandemic – known as the Return to Sport Guidelines. These guidelines will be informing our planning process going forward as we develop sport specific plans for Boccia, Power Soccer and Para Ice Hockey.

Boccia: We are currently working with Boccia Canada and a task force to create Boccia specific guidelines which will assist in the creation of a BC plan.

Power Soccer: Staff are actively collecting and working on resources that will help shape a plan for power soccer.

Para Ice Hockey: Hockey Canada has now released guidelines to assist the creation of a plan for hockey and we will work with BC Hockey throughout the process.

We will be also hosting webinars and Q & A sessions online via Zoom about Return to Sport for each of our sports in the coming weeks. These sessions will give clubs and athletes a valuable opportunity to ask questions. We will be emailing links in advance to all sport specific members to attend.

We will continue to engage our members and program participants in the Return to Sport process and have created a survey for you to share your current comfort level with a Return to Sport and the needs you may have for a successful return. The survey can be found here.

As all PSOs, DSOs (Disability Sport Organizations), and LSOs (Local Sport Organizations) are prohibited from organizing or operating any sport programs until sport specific guidelines are approved, all of our in-person programs will remain suspended until June 30, at which point we will re-evaluate.

Throughout this process, the health and safety of our members and community remains our first priority and is at the core of our strategy and decision making. We are also aiming to align with the National Return to Sport guidelines of our NSOs – Boccia Canada and Hockey Canada.

We will continue post Return to Sport updates on our website, in our newsletter and across our social media channels as they become available.

An additional note from viaSport on the reopening of parks and municipal and private recreation centres in our communities:

With the reopening of parks and both municipal and private recreation facilities in our communities, casual or leisure activities have also begun to resume. These activities should not be organized or operated by a PSO, LSO or DSO. Participation in these activities is at the discretion of the individual and should adhere to current public health recommendations. Individuals are encouraged to go outdoors for personal exercise and to remain active in their communities during this time. Casual or leisure activities include but are not limited to: skill development, leisure sport and individual training. Please consult your local or municipal authorities, or the facility itself, for their specific COVID-19 guidelines to help you decide if you will partake in these activities.

SportAbility strongly encourages our members take their individual health situation into consideration before resuming recreation in the community and is advising our members to continue to work out from home, if possible.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate this new normal and work towards a safe return to playing the sports we love.

Sincerely,

Ross MacDonald
Executive Director
rossm@sportabilitybc.ca

May 13, 2020

Dear SportAbility Membership,

We know you are grappling with the impacts of COVID-19 on yourselves and your ability to participate in your respective sport. We are eager to see sport return, but we also recognize that this is uncharted territory for all of us. The good news is that viaSport, along with public health officials and WorkSafe BC have started the process of creating guidelines for BC to return to sport in a phased approach. Only after Phase 1 has been implemented and monitored for effectiveness, viaSport and subsequently SportAbility will move to provide guidelines for Phases 2 and 3. SportAbility staff will be participating in roundtable discussions with viaSport and other sport organizations in order strengthen and finalize these guidelines.

Using these guidelines, we will then prepare sport-specific return to sport plans. We will consult with club leads and coaches of each sport before we take a finalized version to the SportAbility Board of Directors for approval. The plans for this first phase will have a specific focus on local training and skill development within your clubs and/or programs. Here is the definition provided by viaSport:

Q: What types of activities are allowed within this first phase of lifting restrictions?

A: Low risk activities that can occur with the following public health recommendations in place:

  • Ability to maintain physical distancing
  • Minimal sharing of equipment
  • Focus is on skill development, not competition
  • Community focused – Community focused sport activities take place within the home sport community or clubs where participants are members. This means avoiding cross-regional, inter-provincial or cross-country travel for sport.

If you are uncertain about the meaning of any aspect of the Restart Plan or the sport guidelines, we will strive to provide you with clarity where possible.

This is a fluid process and it can shift direction without much notice. At present time, all of our in-person programming remains suspended including practices, training camps, tournaments and social events. We know changes in direction or procedures can result in frustration, and so we will work closely with programmers and club leads to ensure that safe practices are in place for Return to Sport before notifying our members and moving forward. We will continue to work with you to share the latest public health recommendations as they become available.

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to sport in B.C., especially now. Please contact myself if you have any questions at this time.

Sincerely,

Ross MacDonald
Executive Director
rossm@sportabilitybc.ca