Message from OQ President reagrding Orienteering and Covid-19

by Linda Burridge

Message from OQ President reagrding Orienteering and Covid-19

Message to all Orienteers from the President of Orienteering Queensland
 
We take seriously the safety of our members and all those involved in organizing and putting on events
Things and advice are changing daily as regards Covid-19 and its implications to our sport.
 
You must not come to any orienteering event if you fit into one of the following categories

  • You are unwell with a cough or fever or other respiratory symptoms, particularly if you have recently travelled overseas
  • If you have been a close contact of a confirmed case of Covid-19 until 14 days have elapsed
  • If you have returned or transited through a high risk country until 14 days after leaving the country
  • If you are undergoing Covid-19 testing until the results are confirmed to be negative
  • If you have been advised to stay at home by a health professional

We are continuing to use the advice from Orienteeering Australia and also the Sports Minister
Initially the advice was that no events with more than 500 people could go ahead so which led to the cancellation of Easter 2020 and the NOL events.

It is important to follow Risk Management guidelines at all orienteering events:
 
1.Avoid physical contact
 
2. Wash hands. Provide a bucket of soapy water  or liquid soap and paper towels. Have hand sanitizer available for people to use after hand washing. Encourage people to bring their own supplies and hand sanitizers and use them.
 
3.If people need to register get them to write on a piece of paper preferably using their own pen or a different one supplied to each individual. Only one person on the computer.
 
4.Use pre-printed maps and maps to be kept by competitors after finishing their events
 
5.Encourage people to leave their gear in their own car and take their keys with them or hide under the wheel rather than left in a container
 
6.There should be no drinks controls or water at the start and finish for competitors. People to bring their own water for use before, during if required and after the event
 
7.Arrange starts and finishes to allow distance 1.5m between people
 
8. No results displays at events - make results available in real time on phones or and/publish results ASAP after events.

9. No presentations at events

Event organisers should draw attendees attention to these Risk Management points at the event. They should also provide information in advance about the personal hygiene facilities available at the event to help people in make an informed decision as to whether to attend. 
 
Following the latest advice we advise that:

  1. No events will be classified as OYs until further notice.
  2. No camps are able to take place until further notice
  3. Participants should be limiting travel to local events only

 
One main point is the recommendation for "Competitors over the age of 70, and those with underlying medical conditions, should reconsider their attendance at events."  We all compete at our own risk and it is still an individual choice but as a body OQ has a duty of care regarding the current situation.
 
For the OYs, our next one is at Buhot Creek, and as it is also a schools selection race it will encourage people to travel.  Changing it to a club event and not OY or selection would remove the extra incentive to travel, and also take some of the pressure off the organisers if they feel they need to cancel at the last minute.  I have spoken to Neil Simson today and preparations are in hand for the event to go ahead at this stage.
 
The OA Board has considered the updated advice on community sport provided today by the Australian Government (https://www.sportaus.gov.au/media_centre/news/minister-for-sport-issues-covid-19-guidelines-for-community-sport). The main new Government recommendation which is relevant to orienteering is the avoidance of inter-district travel; other recommendations are either incorporated in existing guidance or not relevant to orienteering.
 
OA recommends that State Associations suspend State League/OY (or equivalent) events, except where they are taking place in a metropolitan region and are not expected to draw significant attendance from outside that region (e.g. Orienteering ACT events held in the ACT).
 
Metropolitan area events, and local events run by regional clubs which are primarily targeted to members of those clubs, are able to continue under existing guidance, should State Associations/clubs wish to do so.
 
The elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions are at greatest risk. Competitors over the age of 70, and those with underlying medical conditions, should reconsider their attendance at events.
 
Orienteering is in a better position than most sports to carry out social distancing recommendations, because of its nature as an individual non-contact sport taking place over large areas of terrain. Nonetheless we are continuing to assess the situation and updated Government guidance and will provide updated recommendations as and when required.
 
States may also wish to consider what opportunities they have for permanent or virtual courses. Experience from some overseas countries is that there is significant demand for such opportunities once regular competitions cease. Whilst OA is interested in the number of people who partake of such opportunities, they will not be considered events for OA levy purpose

Judith Hay
President Orienteering Queensland

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