Covid-19 essentials for a return to gymnastics - British Gymnastics

Covid-19 essentials for a return to gymnastics

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As we continue to see members of our community return to delivering and participating in our sport, we want to highlight some of the key resources that are available for our clubs and registered leisure and school partners to use, in order to enable gymnastics to take place in Covid-Secure environments.

Please note: The resources linked below are accessible for all registered members who deliver gymnastics. If you are a parent or a gymnast, please see our pdf parents (80 KB)  and pdf gymnast (134 KB)  return to gymnastics guides. Registered partners can access relevant resources through our dedicated partners SharePoint site which is available to access on request. We also have a list of FAQs that can be read here.

To ensure a safe return to gymnastics, all member clubs and registered partners are required to:

  • Complete a Covid-19 risk assessment (or update existing risk assessments)
  • Appoint a competent Covid-19 representative or officer, who is responsible for ensuring the appropriate risk assessments are carried out and the control measures are in place and being followed
  • Demonstrate increased hygiene measures including frequent cleaning of equipment and/or the venue and handwashing or sanitising procedures throughout the venue and sessions
  • Meet the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) guidance (or Home Country equivalent) for capacity within their sessions and comply with current social distancing regulations
  • Regularly communicate and publish information on adapted operating procedures and risk assessments that reduce the risks of transmission to all workforce, members and stakeholders

To support with the above, a ‘Reopening Summary Checklist and Self Declaration Template’ has been provided to all clubs and a detailed breakdown of the UK Government guidance can be found here.

For clubs in non-dedicated spaces in addition to gymnastics specific guidance, clubs are encouraged to work proactively with their facility providers to follow venue specific guidance that is in place, define responsibilities between the club and venue operator and keep communication channels opens.

Activity delivery
After months of inactivity it is important that a progressive approach is taken when bringing gymnasts back. There are a number of physical, psychological and emotional factors which may have changed during lockdown, meaning it’s important that sessions are adapted to suit the gymnasts’ physical and mental health.

In this area, we have a number of guides that coaches can use including:

Planning for a safe and progressive return to training guidance V1
Programmes Guidance - Planning your programme structure to resume activity
Planning your gymnastics sessions video
Warm up and cool down ideas
Keep your gymnasts moving!

Session sizes
Due to social distancing guidelines and wider government guidance on capacity limits, session sizes may have to be adjusted to suit the spaces that clubs and partners operate in. Not all gymnastics sessions will operate in a facility that is the same size, and calculations to determine capacity will need to be made specifically for each club or partner using the space available. To help with this, we have created a Capacity, group size and ratios guidance document which explains how to calculate capacity and determine session sizes. We have also produced a document that provides advice on how to undergo a phased reopening, create work zones and adapt timetables. Read our Programmes Guidance - Planning your programme structure to resume activity.

Risk Assessments
To protect a club or partner’s workforce and its members, it is important that a Covid-secure risk assessment is carried out, alongside existing risk assessments, to mitigate the risks of transmission within a venue and during activity. A Covid-19 representative or officer should be appointed to ensure all measures put in place are recorded and adhered to. Registered partners should adhere to their own operator policies and procedures.

We have different guidance for the different types of premises that our clubs operate in. More on this can be read in our Step Forward Toolkit, pages 9 -17. The following resources may also be of some help:

Risk Assessment Forms Guidance
Agility Sample Covid-19 Risk Assessment A
Agility Sample Covid-19 Risk Assessment B
HSE What to include in your COVID -19 Risk Assessment
Risk Assessment Form Template v1.0
British Gymnastics Outdoor Activity Risk Assessment v1.0

For further support with health and safety, our clubs can contact our partner, Agility Risk and Compliance. They can be contacted by phone (01527 571 612) or by email.

To help reduce the risk of the transmission of Covid-19, clubs and partners should carry out extra cleaning procedures before, during and after their sessions. It is important that any equipment or surfaces that coaches or gymnasts come into contact with are cleaned regularly and managed via a schedule. On pages 5 and 6 in our Step Forward Toolkit, we have set out some guidelines and considerations for deep cleaning a facility. We have also created a bespoke cleaning guide which provides details on surfaces and areas in a gym and how these should be cleaned and how frequently.

Social distancing
Social distancing will affect the capacity in terms of numbers of gymnasts in sessions and the number of sessions that can be held – all of which depend on the facility. As well as this, coaches will have to adapt their delivery, taking social distancing into account, when planning and instructing their gymnasts during activities. On pages 10 – 13 in our Step Forward Toolkit, there is some information on how to plan for social distancing, including what to consider when laying out your sessions.

The following resources may also be of some help in this area:

Coaching at a social distance
Planning social distancing in your gymnastics space
Programmes Guidance - Planning your programme structure to resume activity 

All of the resources mentioned in this article (and more!) can be found in our Step Forward Plan area.