Barnstaple Rugby Football Club

COVID Committee – Update 09-03-2021



Further to the government’s announcement that outside sport can resume from Monday 29th March, the RFU published guidance to clubs on Friday 5th March and as a result the COVID committee have met and wishes to clarify the club’s current position. The position reflects the guidance but also recognises the continued duty of the club to ensure the health and wellbeing of its players; playing support staff; volunteers; members and supporters.  The COVID committee will meet to review any new guidance and its implications for the club if further changes are published.

To clarify, the RFU have produced a 6-stage process back to full contact rugby, subject to the government roadmap being met. The 6-stage process is designed to guide coaches and players through the return to rugby stages with limited contact training from the end of March through to full contact matches anticipated in June.

Age grade season has been extended until the 31st May and further guidance is expected to be published by the RFU in the coming weeks regarding permitted out of season activity to support player safety, contact preparation and player retention.

Training and Playing

The RFU have introduced a 6 stage return to rugby process which is illustrated below:

Therefore, as from now until Sunday 28th March inclusive:

  • Individual and exercise with one other person can continue if social distancing is maintained and equipment is not shared.

From Monday 29th March:

  • Contact training excluding maul and scrum can commence.
  • Ready4rugby, O2 Touch and tag matches against other cubs can commence.
  • Contact should be built up incrementally and the RFU guidance stipulates that training sessions should not exceed 20 minutes of contact at this stage.

Club position:

  • Adult and age grade training can commence as from 29th March (or when senior and junior sub committees wish given the Easter weekend) following the existing club risk assessments including:
    • Continue with staggered start times for age grade training to minimise overcrowding.
    • Parents limited to dropping off and picking up from the car park for the initial period as per risk assessment.
    • Continue with completion of online COVID assessment for all players, coaches and support staff prior to training. No need for temperature check to be completed at the club.
    • Changing facilities unavailable for use until further notice except for toilet use. Full toilet COVID cleaning procedure should be followed.
    • COVID first aid protocols to continue.
  • With evenings drawing out, please consider evening training sessions to help facilitate training sessions.
  • Although the RFU have agreed that modified rugby matches can be organised against other clubs, the committee recommend that only interclub matches should be organised during this initial period. This will minimise any risk to players, coaching and other support staff and reflects the lack of changing/clubhouse facilities as well as the difficulty in managing spectators.
  • COVID committee to meet on the 12th April to consider step D2 which is planned to take place as from 26th

Clubhouse and Facilities

The RFU will produce further guidance regarding club facilities in the coming weeks but the COVID committee in consultation with government guidance confirm that:

  • The clubhouse will continue to remain closed except for nominated individuals who will visit each week to ensure security, carryout essential equipment checks and process post. Planned maintenance can take place but following the current club risk assessment.
  • Most of the hiring will continue to cease with the exception of those activities that meet the criteria as stipulated by government guidance. Anyone hiring the facilities will be asked to strictly adhere to the clubs COVID risk assessment.
  • Anyone visiting the club are asked to minimise the time spent on the premises and must maintain social distancing; wear a face mask at all times and wash/sanitise hands on a regular basis.

Maintenance and Grounds

Until further guidance is received from the RFU and/or government, the following position remains:

  • At this stage only essential Maintenance will continue at the club following the current COVID risk assessment. Pitch maintenance work will continue to be coordinated by the head groundsman and facility maintenance will be coordinated by a nominated person.
  • All those involved in carrying out essential maintenance will follow the personal protective equipment and cleaning guidance as set out in the club’s COVID risk assessment in order to minimise the risk to themselves and others.

There is real light at the end of an exceptionally long tunnel and if progress continues, the RFU expect that rugby will return to normal at the start of next season.  In the meantime, the gradual opening up of facilities and returning to normality continues and the club will ensure that the guidance is regularly reviewed and with any luck we will be able to meet at the club in the summer before the start of the new season.

Once again, the COVID and general committee thank you all for your patience and understanding during this very difficult and frustrating time.

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