Step Forward FAQS - Covid-19 Support - British Gymnastics

Step Forward FAQS - Covid-19 Support

UPDATED: Tuesday 27th July at 14.45pm

Updated - 27/7/21- updated with information regarding Phase 3 of the Return to Coach Contact Framework from Monday 26th July.
 
England -  England has moved to Step 4 of the roadmap. Everyone should be cautious while managing the risks as cases of COVID-19 remain high. For more information, please see the Gymnastics Guidance from 19th July webpage.

PLEASE NOTE THE FAQS ON THIS PAGE NO LONGER APPLY TO ENGLAND. FOR STEP 4 FAQs FROM 19TH JULY PLEASE CLICK HERE.

Northern Ireland - From Monday 24th May clubs and delivery providers may return to indoor group exercise and training. The Team Sport Framework and Return to Coach Contact Framework will also come into effect on this date. If wishing to return to close contact activities both frameworks, action plan/protocols and risk assessment’s should be read fully before implementation. Contact activities are not able to be performed until Monday 7th June at the earliest due to the need to have been operational for a minimum of two weeks (not including individual or elite training) maintaining the appropriate Covid-19 safety controls. 

The FAQ’s have been updated based on the current guidance available from the government, Sport Northern Ireland and Department for Communities. Please note the guidance is continually evolving and is subject to change. Our guidance and FAQ’s will be updated accordingly as more specific information becomes available. 

Home Country Support

The below FAQ's have been updated in line with government guidance in Northern Ireland and England. For additional support in the other home countries, please click on the relevant links below.

Scotland - Please visit the Scottish Gymnastics website for further information. 
Wales - Please visit the Welsh Gymnastics website for further information. 

PLEASE NOTE THE FAQS ON THIS PAGE NO LONGER APPLY TO ENGLAND. FOR STEP 4 FAQs FROM 19TH JULY PLEASE CLICK HERE.

27/07/2021 - Are coaches/instructors able to spot/support gymnasts?
Northern Ireland - The British Gymnastics Return to Coach Contact Framework has been reviewed and approved by the Department for Communities and Sport Northern Ireland’s Expert Panel.

British Gymnastics recognised gymnastics environments are now able to resume coach contact and manual support activities if following the control measures included within the action plan and adhering to the appropriate protocols for phase 1 and/or phase 2.

As stated in the action plan, clubs need to have operated under the appropriate social distancing controls for two weeks before implementing any coach contact.

Coaches/instructors and gymnasts who have chosen to opt-in to the Return to Coach Contact Framework and follow the action plan and associated control measures may spot/support gymnasts in line with the action plan.

Social distancing must be adhered to at all times where no coach contact or manual support is required.

More information can be found in the Return to Coach Contact Framework and FAQs.

The phased approach in Northern Ireland is as follows:

Indoor group training

Status: Active (not before 24th May)

Is manual support allowed? No

The club must meet the requirements as set out in the relevant government guidance and have been operational for a minimum of two weeks (not including individual or elite training) maintaining the appropriate controls before implementation of the Return to Coach Contact Framework.

RTCC Phase 1

Status: Active (not before 7th June)

Is manual support allowed? Yes – but limited to 15 minutes per day

During this phased return to manual support, each coach/instructor must limit the coach contact time to a maximum of 15 minutes per day, for one fixed group* for at least a minimum period of two weeks of pre-planned activity.

Manual support may not be provided for any other group or individuals once the identified group for each coach/instructor has been decided.

RTCC Phase 2

Status: Active (not before 21 June)

Is manual support allowed? Yes – but limited to 15 minutes per group per session

Following the completion of Phase One.

Phase Two allows the coach/instructor to increase their coach contact to multiple groups throughout the day. The coach/instructor must limit the coach contact time to 15 minutes per group/session*. Each group should only have one identified coach taking part in coach contact throughout the session and where possible for the duration of the phase**.

RTCC Phase 3 

Status: Active (not before 26th July)

Is manual support allowed? Yes

Following the completion of Phase 1 (minimum of 2 weeks) and Phase 2 (minimum of 2 weeks) by the club, coaches/instructors can now resume coach contact for all pre-planned activity.

There are no restrictions on the coach contact time and multiple groups throughout the day and session can be supported. Where necessary a group of gymnasts are now able to have more than one identified coach provide coach contact activities.

Coaches/instructors should control and keep to a minimum the number of gymnasts that require manual support to reduce the number of contacts any one coach has.

The following must be adhered to in order to reduce the risk of transmission:

All gymnasts and coaches/instructors must complete a self screening before each session and not leave the house if displaying symptoms
Maintain social distancing for non‑coach contact activities
Coaches must wear a mask/face covering during coach contact (unless exempt) and;
Use hand sanitiser between every gymnast

Return to Coach Contact is completely optional and anyone wishing to engage must opt-in.


* Groups must not exceed government groups size limits (or British Gymnastics coach: gymnast ratios) and each group is limited to 15 minutes coach contact per day.

**Where possible, clubs, and coaches/instructors should control and keep to a minimum the number of gymnasts that require manual support to reduce the number of contact any one coach has

21/07/2021 - What changes have been made in England for step 4 from 19th July?
For information and FAQ's on step 4 in England from 19th July 2021, please click here.
22/06/2021 - Is inter-club /regional squad training able to take place?
Clubs and/or regional associations wishing to run inter club training/regional squad sessions have a responsibility to ensure the environment is Covid secure. The Return to Events guidance (and the Return to Coach Contact/Team Sport Framework where applicable), should be followed for these types of sessions where gymnasts and coaches from different clubs are coming together to train. The Return to Events Framework can be found here.

Event organisers have a responsibility and are expected to:
Follow all relevant national and local government guidance whilst continuing to adhere to gymnastics specific best practice as outlined within British Gymnastics policy and procedural documentation.
Adhere to all transmission mitigating control measures required as stipulated within the British Gymnastics Step Forward Plan, Team Sport Framework (if applicable), Return to Coach Contact Framework and the Return to Events Framework.
Educate all potential participants (event delivery team, coaches, judges, volunteers, gymnasts and their parents/carers and spectators where applicable) in the required practices and controls as indicated within the Action Plan and keep appropriate records for the Test and Trace purposes
Ensure (where external to a usual training setting) all who are likely to attend an event understand the inherently increased risks associated with attendance and are encouraged to make an assessment of personal risk specific to individual circumstances prior to agreeing to attend (in any capacity).

Those wishing to run inter club/regional training sessions must:
Complete a Covid-19 risk assessment for the session.
Maintain social distancing throughout the session, including any breaks. Social distancing must be maintained between all gymnasts and gymnasts and coach and gymnasts unless following the Return to Coach Contact Framework or Team Sport Framework in the applicable disciplines.
If following the Return to Coach Contact Framework, coaches can only spot/support gymnasts from their own venue in line with Phase 2.
Ensure regular hand washing/sanitising is in place.
Frequently clean the facility and equipment.
Ensure the venue’s capacity is not exceeded, and ventilation is increased through opening windows and doors where possible.
Groups may be mixed with gymnasts from different clubs, however these should be fixed at the beginning of the session and not changed throughout.
Ensure everyone attending the session completes a self-screening survey before leaving home within 2 hours of the training starting. Anyone displaying symptoms should not attend the training session.
Comply with Track and Trace Requirements
Follow the guidance provided for changing rooms and/or refreshments (For more information see the following FAQS - Are other facilities able to open such as changing rooms/cafés? Is food and drink allowed to be consumed whilst at the gym?
Communicate with individuals attending the training sessions, particularly if it is not their usual gym to ensure they are aware of any specific safety measures in place.
If other sessions are taking place at the same time, zoning and other appropriate controls should be used to minimise contact between different user groups.
02/06/2021 - Are gymnastics events/competitions allowed to run?
Northern Irelenad - From 31 May, competitive indoor sport (subject to risk assessment and appropriate mitigations) will be permitted.

All organisers wishing to host a gymnastics event or competition should follow the Return to Events guidance (and the Return to Coach Contact/Team Sport Framework where applicable), which can be found here.

Return to Events – Running Events Safely FAQs.

28/05/2021 - Is singing allowed in Preschool sessions?
Singing can take place, following the below protective measures. There may be an additional risk of infection in environments where singing, takes place. There is now some evidence that additional risk can build from aerosol transmission with volume and, in particular, with the combined numbers of individuals within a confined space. This is particularly evident for singing and shouting.

When planning sessions with singing in, clubs should consider additional safety measures and should follow the measures in the Out of Schools Settings guidance to reduce any risks of aerosol transmission. Measures include:

limit the number of children to maintain social distancing and increase space ventilation.
making sure children are socially distanced at all times (2 metres apart), are outside or in a well-ventilated room
activities which can create aerosol are discouraged, such as shouting or singing loudly
keep any background or accompanying music to levels which do not encourage teachers or other performers to raise their voices unduly
children sit down where possible to help maintain social distancing
back-to-back or side-to-side positioning (rather than face-to-face)
encourage children to sing quietly
if indoors, use a room with as much space as possible
improve ventilation whenever possible, through the use of mechanical systems or opening windows and doors
limit the length of activity as far as possible

Clubs should review and update their Covid-19 Risk Assessments with suitable control measures as outlined above if including singing within Preschool sessions.
20/05/2021 - What is the group size limit for sessions?
For organised indoor sport and physical activity, there’s no limit on group numbers so long as people adhere to capacity restrictions on indoor facilities and ensure social distancing is maintained*. The maximum occupancy of each indoor facility should be limited by providing a minimum of 100 sq ft per person. More information can be found in the Capacity, group size and ratios guidance.

If following the Team Sport Framework the group sizes included within the guidance must still be followed as close contact is permitted in line with the Government’s approval of this framework and action plan. The maximum number allowed in each discipline is:

Acrobatic Gymnastics where gymnasts work together in pairs or groups of 3 or 4.   
Aerobic Gymnastics with pairs, trios and groups of 5 working closely together  
Rhythmic Gymnastics in which groups of up to 6 gymnasts work together  
TeamGym where teams of up to 12 gymnasts are in close proximity  
Gymnastics for All (GfA) – Festival Display Groups – no limit on group size but should be carefully managed to reduce the risk of transmission

British Gymnastics gymnast to coach/teacher ratios and safeguarding policies should be adhered to at all times.

Where possible groups should remain fixed, and group sizes should be suitably managed to reduce the risk of transmission and possible outbreaks within a club, any changes to group sizes should be informed by reviewing the Covid-19 risk assessment. Mixing of different groups/classes/sessions should be avoided once fixed without suitable control measures in place. Coaches/instructors should also remain with the same group to reduce the risk of transmission. 

*unless following the Team Sport Framework.

In Northern Ireland contact is limited to 15 minutes per day for the first two weeks for any pre-defined partnerships/groups.
20/05/2021 - Are preschool/adult and toddler sessions allowed to resume?
Preschool (Coach Led)
Structured and coach led adult & toddler style sessions are covered within the DCMS guidance and may proceed if deemed safe to do so following risk assessment and assessment of the capability to adhere to current guidance by all participants. It is recommended that participation be controlled allowing one adult to one child only for direct supervision. Where such sessions are taking place, a risk assessment should be conducted, and subsequent control measures be put in place to meet all relevant hygiene and social distancing guidance. Consideration should be made to enforce advanced bookings only both to ensure venue maximum capacity is not breached and organisations can comply with keeping suitable records for Test and Trace.

Multiple groups are allowed within a venue, if groups remain separate and no mixing or joining of groups takes place. Social distancing must be in place and the maximum capacity of the venue must not be exceeded. Where possible coaches/instructors and gymnasts should remain with the same group to reduce the risk of transmission. 

Preschool (Free Roam) and Indoor Play Areas for children
Indoor play centres, and areas including soft play are allowed to reopen from the 17th May (England) and 24th May (Northern Ireland) therefore sessions where children under 5 and adults have free movement of the gymnastics space can take place from these dates.

These types of drop in/pay and play/free roam sessions do not meet the definition for supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s and therefore should refer to guidance the government is directing soft play areas to: BALPPA Indoor play areas for children operational guidance for soft play equipment for all relevant information.

This includes any indoor play areas such as structures such as indoor play frames, dedicated soft play areas, or any unsupervised play activity.
20/05/2021 - Can over 18’s/adults take part in gymnastics indoors?
Adults can now take part in group sessions, if adhering to capacity restrictions on indoor facilities and ensuring social distancing is maintained*. The mixing of adults and children within groups is now permitted.

The Team Sport Framework and Return to Coach Contact Framework is now allowed for over 18’s. In Northern Ireland contact is limited to 15 minutes per day for the first two weeks for any pre-defined partnerships/groups under the Team Sport Framework.

The session delivery must follow the existing Step Forward Plan guidance for capacity, social distancing, hand sanitisation and increased provision of cleaning of the facility and equipment. 

Adult classes can take place at the same time as other sessions; however, it is imperative to ensure apparatus is not shared between user groups without appropriate controls (such as the thorough cleaning of equipment and hand sanitisation). Indoor spaces may be zoned to prevent interaction between different user groups. Social distancing must be maintained in all sessions and between all user groups throughout the facility.  

*Unless following the Team Sport Framework
20/05/2021 - Can gymnastics activity take place outdoors?
Outdoor organised sport and physical activity is permitted, including organised outdoor individual and team sport, and outdoor exercise classes, with no limit on group sizes as long as it’s undertaken in line with Covid-secure guidance. 

British Gymnastics endorses activity outdoors for group sessions, gymnastics outdoors will allow you to further connect with your members by coaching face-to-face. Where possible groups should remain fixed, and group sizes should be suitably managed for safe outdoor activity, and to reduce the risk of transmission and possible outbreaks within a club. Any changes to group sizes should be informed by reviewing the Covid-19 risk assessment. Mixing of different groups/classes/sessions should be avoided once fixed without suitable control measures in place. Coaches/instructors should also remain with the same group to reduce the risk of transmission. 

British Gymnastics gymnast to coach/teacher ratios and safeguarding policies should be adhered to at all times.

If following the Team Sport Framework the group sizes included within the guidance must still be followed as close contact is permitted in line with the government’s approval of this framework and action plan. The maximum number allowed in each discipline is:  

Acrobatic Gymnastics where gymnasts work together in pairs or groups of 3 or 4
Aerobic Gymnastics with pairs, trios and groups of 5 working closely together 
Rhythmic Gymnastics in which groups of up to 6 gymnasts work together     
TeamGym where teams of up to 12 gymnasts are in close proximity 
Gymnastics for All (GfA) – Festival Display Groups – no limit on group size but should be carefully managed to reduce the risk of transmission

The permissible insured activity is limited to British Gymnastics endorsed programmes:

GymFIT
Jump into Gymnastics
Proficiency (specifically those made available during lockdown)
FUNdamentals
Activities centred around fitness, conditioning, and flexibility

For a full list of skills permitted outside (including prohibited skills) please see the Online and Outdoor Activity Skills List.

The variables of the environment will determine which skills are appropriate for the session. A thorough risk assessment of the environment and activity should take place before each session, which is clearly communicated with your staff and members. Activity should not include the development of new skills. All skills must be performed individually with social distancing in place unless following the Team Sport Framework and the relevant controls have been adopted as outlined in the action plan. Gymnasts from the same household or support bubble may perform partner work as listed in the Online and Outdoor Activity Skills List.

The Return to Coach Contact Framework is not allowed outdoors and coaches must remain socially distanced from gymnasts. No contact is permitted between coach/instructor and gymnast (unless in an emergency).

Outdoor sessions still require the use of sufficient matting, the approved outdoor activity skills list is based on all outdoor skills taking place on a safely matted surface. Approved hand apparatus (found in the Online and Outdoor Activity Skills List) can be used throughout the session if it is not shared. Regular cleaning of equipment and hand sanitisation must take place as per the club’s Covid-19 Risk Assessment. Large equipment such as bars, mushrooms, trampettes and beams must not be used.

Please see here for further guidance on Outdoor Activity and to download a sample risk assessment.
20/05/2021 - Are clubs required to test their workforce regularly?
Northern Ireland – In Northern Ireland, anyone who cannot work from home is encouraged to participate in the asymptomatic testing programme.

For more information on Workforce Testing and to see if your club is eligible, please go to: https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/workforce-testing.

In Northern Ireland, anyone who cannot work from home is encouraged to participate in the asymptomatic testing programme. There are options for:

Organisations with more than 10 employees
Small Businesses (10 or less employees) & people who work from home ​
20/05/2021 - Can disability gymnastics take place?
Gymnastics sessions for disabled people are permitted to run both indoors and outdoors following the existing Step Forward Plan guidance. Sessions can include both children (under 18’s) and adults (over 18’s) and should follow the considerations for group size limits (See ‘What is the group size limit for sessions?’ FAQ). Social distancing should be maintained where possible throughout the session between coaches/instructors and gymnasts (unless following the Return to Coach Contact Framework for indoor sessions), gymnasts and gymnasts and any carers/supporting adults outside of their household or support bubble.

Gymnasts should be encouraged to turn up to sessions ready to take part, however changing facilities can be used by disabled people who are taking part in organised sport and physical activity.  

Non-disabled people including, siblings, parents and carers and/or supporting adults can now attend and take part in the activity.
20/05/2021 - Is contact allowed within sessions?
The guidance states that social distance regulations must be maintained therefore ‘bubbling’ or close contact is not permitted within groups unless gymnasts are from the same household or clubs are following the Team Sport Framework. The guidance encourages fixed groups to be maintained throughout the session.

These groups will be required to remain in their working group for a fixed duration of time, i.e. monthly/half termly/termly. Working within a fixed group will help you to contain any outbreaks within your club. It is recommended that coaches/instructors remain with their fixed group. Please note that even when working in your fixed group, coaches/instructors will need to maintain the current guidelines for social distancing unless following the Return to Coach Contact Framework.

For full information please refer to the Team Sport Framework page and Team Sport Framework FAQ’s. 

More information can be found in the Return to Coach Contact Framework and FAQs.
20/05/2021 - Is travel to take part in sport and physical activity allowed?
Northern Ireland - Travel is permitted to take part in sporting activities, however car sharing is discouraged unless necessary.

If sharing a car with others from a different household additional measures should be put in place which can be found in the Travelling by car section on the NI Direct Website.

Always check that it is safe to travel before you set out to take part in sport or recreation.    
20/05/2021 - Are spectators permitted at indoor and/or outdoor sessions?
Northern Ireland - From 24th May spectators will be permitted to view sporting activities outdoors and indoors within legal gathering limits, and must adhere to social distancing guidelines at all times whilst in attendance.

Spectators are allowed indoors, but the total number of all participants, coaches, officials and spectators must be aligned with the ventilation rates permitted by the particular venue.

If your club has the capacity to allow spectators (parents/carers watching their child’s session), there should be a named person or persons with responsibility for ensuring adherence with these guidelines and ensuring the facility is COVID-secure. The person should carry out and publish a risk assessment for the activity which limits the number of spectators and focuses on the need to maintain social distancing on arrival, for the duration of the activity, and on departure. If your club allows spectators, you must consider the following aspects:

Processes should be in place to carefully control numbers.
You must ensure current government guidelines are being observed including encouraging the wearing of facemasks in enclosed public spaces where social distancing is difficult to maintain e.g. corridors.
Social distancing must be in place and the legal gathering limits must be adhered to.
Suitable management and record keeping to comply with Test & Trace.

In addition, parents and carers should be discouraged from gathering in groups inside or outside the premises, including before and after classes.

Maintain your “open viewing policy” creatively (using technology or developing robust communications plans) to ensure parents and carers are kept well informed. For more information regarding the safe use of viewing areas and how to maintain an open viewing policy, please see the Guide to Viewing Gymnastics Sessions.
20/05/2021 - What guidance do clubs need to follow when running soft play sessions?
These types of drop in/pay and play/free roam sessions do not meet the definition for supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s and therefore should refer to guidance the government is directing soft play areas to: BALPPA Indoor play areas for children operational guidance for soft play equipment for all relevant information.

This includes any indoor play areas such as structures such as indoor play frames, dedicated soft play areas, or any unsupervised play activity.
20/05/2021 - Are children’s birthday parties allowed to run?
The guidance organisations need to follow will differ depending on the type of child’s party being delivered.

It is important to ensure that risk assessments have been carried out and robust control measures are in place to limit the spread of Covid-19. You also need to ensure you can meet the requirements for Test and Trace.  

Structured Gymnastics Parties 
Structured gymnastics parties (including supervised structured adult and child parties) can continue to run as long as they are following the existing Step Forward Plan and Government guidance. There’s no limit on group numbers at parties so long capacity restrictions on indoor facilities are adhered to and ensure social distancing is maintained throughout. British Gymnastics gymnast to coach/teacher ratios and safeguarding policies should be adhered to at all times.

In line with current guidance, it is recommended to refrain from singing during parties. Throughout the party, encourage coaches/instructors to avoid raising their voices and be creative when interacting with children. The use of music (at a low volume) is allowed.   

If allowing a space for non-gymnastics activities (i.e. food/party games*) to be hired, social gathering limits must be adhered to and social distancing maintained. 

Based on capacity restrictions for the space being hired, multiple groups are allowed, if groups are clearly separate and social distancing is in place and the maximum capacity of the venue is not to be exceeded. Facilities that include a shop, café, or provision to sell food and drink, should consult and follow the government guidance on hospitality in Northern Ireland. 

Parents, and other spectators will be permitted to watch a birthday party within legal gathering limits, and must adhere to social distancing guidelines at all times whilst attending. The total number of all participants, coaches, officials and spectators must be aligned with the ventilation rates permitted by the particular venue.

The Team Sport Framework is not permitted for use at any birthday parties due to the ad hoc nature of participants. The Return to Coach Contact Framework is allowed in line with the guidance found within the action plan.

*Social distanced party games e.g. musical statues can be played in the gym as part of the gymnastics activity. 

Parent and Child (under 5) Gymnastics Parties 
Birthday parties that are overseen by a supervising coach, where children under 5 and adults have free movement of the gymnastics space/soft play equipment (dedicated indoor play areas/indoor play frames) can can take place. This also includes ‘free play’ birthday parties for children of any age. Clubs should refer to guidance the government is directing soft play areas to: BALPPA Indoor play areas for children operational guidance for soft play equipment for all relevant information.

Based on capacity restrictions for the space being hired, multiple groups are allowed, if groups are clearly separate and social distancing is in place and the maximum capacity of the venue is not exceeded. Facilities that include a shop, café, or provision to sell food and drink, should consult and follow the government guidance on hospitality in Northern Ireland. 

Parents, and other spectators will be permitted to watch a birthday party within legal gathering limits, and must adhere to social distancing guidelines at all times whilst attending. The total number of all participants, coaches, officials and spectators must be aligned with the ventilation rates permitted by the particular venue.

The Team Sport Framework is not permitted for use at any birthday parties due to the ad hoc nature of participants. The Return to Coach Contact Framework is allowed in line with the guidance found within the action plan.

*Social distanced party games e.g. musical statues can be played in the gym as part of the gymnastics activity. 
20/05/2021 - Can gymnasts work in pairs and or groups?
For any disciplines that require close contact or teamwork elements within their training, for example; Acrobatics, Rhythmic groups, TeamGym, Aerobics pairs and groups, and Festival groups the British Gymnastics Team Sport Framework has now been approved by the DCMS and identified disciplines and activities can resume in a safe and controlled environment where clubs and delivery providers adopt all controls as outlined within the British Gymnastics Team Sport Framework Action Plan. For full information please refer to the Team Sport Framework page and Team Sport Framework FAQ’s.  

Social distancing within individual activities and all other disciplines must be adhered to at all times where no contact is permitted between coaches/instructors and gymnasts*, or gymnasts and gymnasts until the relevant government remove/review social distancing measures. 

*unless following the Return to Coach Contact Framework.
20/05/2021 - Can gymnasts share hand-held equipment (e.g. hoops/bean bags), personal equipment (e.g. handguards) and/or chalk?
It is recommended that personal equipment e.g. chalk/hand guards/gloves & loops are taken home after each session and not left in the gym due to the risk of transmission.  Hand equipment and personal equipment must not be shared. Each gymnast must have their own equipment (rhythmic apparatus, handguards, gloves and loops, conditioning aids including ankle weights, elastic bands, rollers etc). Gymnasts should refrain from spitting on their hand guards and should use their own water spray.

Clubs should carefully review their use of hand equipment and toys (preschool/recreational sessions) with the associated cleaning needs and risks according to the materials they are made of and any cleaning related instructions. Activities should prioritise apparatus free activities or activities with wooden or plastic equipment (plastic balls instead of beanbags, or balloons, or wooden/plastic blocks).

British Gymnastics recommends that communal chalk bowls be removed, and gymnasts should use their own chalk, in a clearly labelled container and not share the chalk with anybody else. This chalk should be kept in their possession and not left in the gym. If you wish to remove chalk from your sessions, you should follow the guidelines as set out by British Gymnastics cleaning schedule. You would need to satisfy yourself that if you remove the use of chalk, gymnasts can still safely carry out the activity or find an alternative product. 

The use of hand apparatus under the Team Sport Framework
For clubs that are following the Team Sport Framework Action Plan for the identified disciplines and activities the below applies:

Where hand-held equipment needs to be transferred for skill development or routine completion, clubs should ensure that the equipment is sanitised frequently and not shared between different groups.
Gymnasts should wash or sanitise their hands regularly when sharing equipment in permitted activities.
The use of props within festival/display groups should be avoided unless allocated specifically to individuals and not shared between or touched by multiple users.
Gymnasts and coaches/instructors should be discouraged to touch their face, mouth, nose or eyes and practice good hand hygiene.

For full information please refer to the Team Sport Framework page and Team Sport Framework FAQ’s.  
20/05/2021 - Is food and drink allowed to be consumed whilst at the gym?
Current government guidance discourages the use of additional facilities such as changing rooms and encourages time spent inside to be minimal. Therefore, communal areas such as areas used for training breaks should be avoided or used as little as possible. When in use, all necessary precautions should be taken to ensure social distancing is maintained and maximum numbers for the space are not exceeded. Necessary operational changes should be implemented to avoid or minimise the use of areas for example shorter training sessions to avoid the need for longer food and drink breaks. Where this is not possible, clubs will need to update their risk assessment and include appropriate control measures to reduce the risk of transmission in break times such as (but not limited to):

• Encourage people to avoid or minimise time spent in communal areas.
• Consider any additional steps you can take to minimise risk. For example, adjust class timetabling to minimise the use of additional facilities.
• Stagger break times for individuals and/or groups.
• Communicate clearly to gymnasts how they can use the area safely. Ensure that staff and members are aware of the additional risks in these areas, and the need to maintain social distancing at all times.
• Make clear that they must not mix with people outside their household or support bubble.
• Take particular care to clean water fountains, and ensure they are only used to refill personal bottles or containers. Face-to-tap drinking should be prohibited.
• Maximise natural ventilation flows (though opening windows and doors or using air conditioning systems wherever possible) in communal areas, maintaining safety and safeguarding protocols.
• Hand sanitiser should be used before and after all breaks in training.
• Wash or sanitise hands before and after eating
• Food and drink must not be shared, including their containers/bottles.
• Implement regular cleaning and increased hygiene procedures for communal areas.

​Facilities that include a shop, café, or provision to sell food and drink, should consult and follow the government guidance on hospitality settings for Northern Ireland.
20/05/2021 - Are adults allowed to act as trampoline spotters in individual training sessions?
Having trained spotters of suitable size on all sides of a trampoline which are not protected by alternative safety measures is an essential part of trampoline activity. If a club is unable to provide spotters for individual training for over 18’s, then other adults attending the gym may act as spotters if appropriate control measures are adopted. These should be determined by the club’s COVID-19 risk assessment and could include:

• Spotters to wear a mask/face covering.
• Setting up equipment appropriately to reduce the number of spotters needed:
     • Putting trampolines side by side will reduce the number of spotters required.
     • If the trampolines are set up side by side, the coach can act as the spotter on the open side.
• Ensuring spotters are attentive at all times and keeping social interactions to a minimum.
• Having defined entry and exits (on and off) the trampoline which maintain social distancing from spotters​/coach.
• Cleaning of high touch areas in between different ​gymnasts/spotters.

Indoor group sessions for adults are currently not permitted and therefore it is imperative that every effort is made to ensure social distancing is maintained by all individuals including spotters unless in an emergency.
20/05/2021 - Can a foam pit be used?
Following research on the use of foam and the transmission of Covid-19, we have consulted with our Chief Medical Officer and Health and Safety Experts; Agility, regarding the reintroduction of foam pits as it concluded that the risk of Covid transmission in foam was low after one minute. The use of foam pits will now be permitted in line with the guidance. Clubs should review and update their Covid-19 Risk Assessments with the control measures included in the guidance, such as:
• Completion of self-screening surveys prior to departure for all users. Anyone displaying symptoms should not leave home.
• Only one person in the pit at any one time.
• A gap of one minute between each gymnast entering the foam.
• Maintain regular hand sanitisation and cleaning of high touch areas around the pit.

The ‘Reintroduction of foam pits’ guide is available to clubs and provides information on the safe use of pits to help reduce the spread of coronavirus. Gymnastics deliverers wishing to use pitted areas should implement the control measures contained within this guidance in conjunction with their existing risk assessments, cleaning protocols and operational procedures.
20/05/2021 - Are other facilities able to open such as changing rooms/cafés?
Changing rooms and shower facilities can be opened, but gymnasts should be encouraged to arrive ready to participate. The use of changing rooms/showers should be avoided or minimised where possible (for example, by arriving in kit and showering at home) and to minimise the time spent in the changing area. Social distancing must be maintained whilst in changing rooms. More than one household can use changing facilities at one time, but they must not mix and must adhere to capacity limits.

Facilities that include a shop, café, or provision to sell food and drink, should consult and follow the government guidance on hospitality in Northern Ireland.
20/05/2021 - How many people are allowed in the venue at any one time?
Due to clubs operating in different environments, variances in equipment and sizes, British Gymnastics are unable to define the maximum capacity for clubs. To ensure clubs can operate effectively within their own environments they will need to define the maximum capacity that can reasonably follow social distancing at the venue.

More information can be found in the Capacity, group size and ratios guidance.

Capacity numbers for dedicated facilities:
The maximum occupancy of each indoor facility should be limited by providing a minimum of 100sqft per person, taking into account total indoor and outdoor space, specific venue characteristics such as equipment as well as likely pinch points and busy areas. It should be based on the government requirement for social distancing, the nature of activities (i.e. if the activity is static vs. requiring a range of movement) and equipment layout and the configuration of facilities.

Particular attention should be given to ventilation (see DCMS guidance for more information) and sufficient circulation space specially around equipment and between groups and coaches. Ventilation systems should provide 100% fresh air and not recirculate air from one space to another. It is up to the club to determine how much socially distanced space is provided per gymnast for their activity as long as it does not go under current government guidelines for social distancing.

Clubs will need to conduct a specific risk assessment for each facility and the proposed activities to identify the number of individuals that can reasonably follow social distancing within the facility, taking into account total space, equipment as well as likely constraints (toilets, locker areas, changing rooms and washrooms) and pinch points.

Capacity numbers for non-dedicated facilities:
Clubs who operate within a space that is managed by an external provider e.g. leisure centre/school hall, will need to speak to the venue regarding total capacity available and the capacity available within hired gymnastics space e.g. a badminton court. Clubs will need to take into consideration equipment being used when defining their maximum capacity and conduct a specific risk assessment for the available space and the proposed activities to identify the number of individuals that can reasonably follow social distancing within the space. 

If your club (dedicated or non-dedicated) is registered with Ofsted on either the compulsory or voluntary childcare register providing childcare to children aged 5 and under, you no longer have to keep consistent small group sizes and can resume normal group sizes. This applies specifically to those participants aged 5 and under providing those aged 5 and under are restricted from mixing with any children aged 6 and over (for whom DCMS guidance remains applicable) within the childcare setting.
20/05/2021 - What are the regulations for groups who may struggle with adhering to social distancing e.g. preschool participants/participants with certain disabilities?
Social distancing should be maintained between all users of facilities including individuals, groups, teams, teachers, trainers* and coaches/instructors unless users come from the same household or to manage needs on account of a disability when additional mitigation will be essential.

*unless following the Team Sport Framework or Return to Coach Contact Framework.

You may need to consider suspending or modifying activities that are not permitted or cannot be undertaken without contravening social distancing guidelines within available facilities. Modifications could include:

Preschool
Within Preschool sessions, you may require parents or carers take part in the activity.  Factor this into your activity, space and equipment planning and ensure that you amend your ratios accordingly to meet the government guidelines for groups. 

Inclusive 
Gymnasts may require a carer to support them in their sessions. In some cases, this can be in the form of the parent/guardian attending sessions to provide additional support.  If this is the case, you must ensure they are considered when planning your activity, the space being used and the impact on your ratios. Please note that carers and parents are not expected to coach, the coach/instructor must ensure that appropriate support is provided through the parent/carer and provide appropriate activities and progressions.

• If carers are within the session, ensure they are also aware of the safety and social distancing measures that you have in place. These would include procedures for safely arriving and leaving the gym and moving around the space. 
• Some gymnasts may have a Personal Evacuation Plan in the event of emergencies.  Ensure you update this in line with any changes you have made to your venue and procedures.

Things to consider:
We advise that the coach/instructor should outline the session plan and goals in advance with the parent/carer, so that:
• Expectations (from coach, parent/carer and gymnast) are clear.
• The parent/carer feels confident with the activities and the level of support required.
• The parent/carer should be comfortable with this prior to the session, and has the opportunity to check details beforehand.

Additional considerations:
• The parent/carer is not left in a position of trust with any other gymnasts.
• The parent/carer is not left on their own with any children.
• Physical contact is only with their own daughter/son.
• The parent/carer is included in the maximum capacity numbers in the centre.

The parent/carer is briefed on what is expected and general safety (including that linked to COVID e.g. social distancing). Please ensure this is included in your risk assessment.
20/05/2021 - Should coaches/instructors remain with the same group for the whole session or can they rotate?
Where possible coaches/instructors and gymnasts should remain with the same group to limit the risk of transmission.

As far as possible, where workers are split into teams or shift groups, they should remain in those groups to limit contact and therefore limit the risk of transmission. 
20/05/2021 - Can a coach deliver activities whilst on furlough?
Delivering gymnastics activities (Coaches/Employees)
You should not carry out any work duties, whilst on furlough, this includes planning or delivering any outdoor, indoor or online (live or pre-recorded) gymnastics activities or sessions.  Please contact your employer for clarification if you are unsure as to whether this affects you or refer to the government guidance.

Delivering gymnastics activities (Employers)
If you are planning to deliver outdoor, indoor and/or online (live or pre-recorded) activity sessions, and your staff are furloughed it is very important to review the government information about furlough to ensure you are working in line with the regulations. Coaches on furlough cannot provide a service or volunteer to provide a service for your organisation or those linked to your organisation.
20/05/2021 - Should coaches/instructors wear Face Masks/PPE throughout their session? If coaches/instructors are wearing PPE can they support gymnasts?
The Government guidance does not make it compulsory for coaches/instructors to wear a mask/face covering when coaching a session, however coaches/instructors who have opted into the Return to Coach Contact activity must wear a face covering whilst undergoing coach contact activities including manually supporting gymnasts. The mask/face covering should remain on and not be removed until a 2m distance is in place between the coach/instructor and gymnast.

Social distancing must be adhered to at all times where no coach contact or manual support is required even whilst wearing PPE.

More information on Face Coverings can be found here.
20/05/2021 - Should gymnasts wear face masks/PPE during their sessions?
Both British Gymnastics and the government do not recommend the use of masks/face coverings during sports activities. All forms of face coverings may restrict breathing efficiency and should not be used during exercise except on specific advice from a physician. 

Gymnasts can wear masks whilst not on apparatus, between time on apparatus, if they so wish, but masks should not be worn whilst on equipment or performing any form of gymnastics elements, including warm ups/cool downs.

More information of Face Coverings can be found here.
20/05/2021 - How often should equipment be cleaned?
The assessment of cleaning needs and frequency of cleaning for each gym area and the equipment within remains the club’s individual responsibility based on users, cleaning policy and equipment being used. Cleaning practices must follow the user instructions and the cleaning product directions. Cleaning requirements should be included in the risk assessment.

Hand sanitisation and stopping those with symptoms entering the venue are important measures to help reduce the risk of transmission.

More information is available in the cleaning guidance.
20/05/2021 - How often should hand sanitisation take place?
It is good practice to have hand sanitizing stations around the gym so that gymnasts and coaches/instructors can keep up good hand hygiene. The number of stations is dependent on the size of your facility and should be assessed within your risk assessment. In smaller facilities, it may be only necessary to have hand sanitizing stations at entry and exit points. Where possible, gymnasts should use their own hand sanitiser.
20/05/2021 - Should participants also be washing their feet before, during, after sessions?
It is good practice for gymnasts to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer on a regular basis throughout the session. This can be before and after using equipment. Feet do not carry the same level of risk as hands, so foot hygiene is not as necessary as hand hygiene. However, it may be good practice to wear gym shoes or suitable foot coverings as long as they can be washed between each session. The footwear should be appropriate for training.
20/05/2021 - Is it a requirement to have a COVID-19 Officer?
Each club should have a competent person who is responsible for ensuring there are measures in place to mitigate the risk of Covid-19 within the club. This person could be your director, head coach, welfare officer or a dedicated person within the gym. They do not need to be a Covid-19 officer, they should be responsible for ensuring the risk assessment is carried out and the control measures are in place and being adhered to.
20/05/2021 - Can online sessions continue to run?
British Gymnastics Membership includes access to, and fully comprehensive, insurance for British Gymnastics endorsed activity at home and virtual activities based around fitness, conditioning and flexibility.

For information on how to manage and deliver online floor-based activities safely at home please consult the Online activity session guidance.

The Online and Outdoor Activity Skills List outlines approved and prohibited skills for gymnasts at home. The permissible insured ‘at home’ activity is limited to British Gymnastics endorsed programmes:

• GymFIT 
• Jump into Gymnastics 
• Core Proficiency Awards (specifically those made available during lockdown) 
• FUNdamentals 
• Activities centred around fitness, conditioning, and flexibility 

When planning your at home sessions and choosing activities and/or skills, please consult the Online Activity Skills List to ensure your delivery is in line with the following categories:

• Parent or Carer supervised training
• Online live supervised sessions
• Online live supervised sessions with competency

#GymnastsatHome activity can be found here.
20/05/2021 - Do gymnasts need British Gymnastics membership to take part in online activity sessions?
All gymnasts must be British Gymnastics registered members to take part in online activity sessions. Those joining the club for the first time are entitled to two free taster sessions and should take out British Gymnastics membership thereafter.
20/05/2021 - What to do if someone contracts COVID-19?
Templates and resources including a flow chart on what to do if a suspected or positive case is reported at your club and information on how to record this is available in the Step Forward People Guide.

Anybody displaying symptoms or anybody who has been in contact with an infected person, should be advised not to return to the gym until they have been tested and followed the guidance set out by the NHS/PHA.

If there is more than one case, this should be reported to your local public health service as a suspected outbreak.
20/05/2021 - Should clubs use thermometers to temperature test?
Currently, temperature checking/use of thermometers is not a legal requirement but is an additional control measure to reduce the risk of transmission within the venue. Clubs may want to include as part of their control measures as a result of their risk assessment whilst taking the following into account:

• Take temperature prior to entry to the venue, be aware that a person’s temperature may be slightly elevated as they get to the vicinity depending on how they got there, i.e. cycle, walked a distance etc.  
• Test both adults and children - a temperature of above 37.9 degrees is a high temperature.

Remember that temperature checking is not a way to prevent the coronavirus but may alert personnel on site that someone is displaying symptoms (elevated temperature). 

Ensure a process is put in place if symptoms are displayed and this is communicated with your members. British Gymnastics recommends that anyone displaying any symptoms should not enter the venue.
20/05/2021 - What are the requirements relating to ventilation?
Many clubs are concerned about how to keep their gymnasts, coaches, and staff members at a suitable temperature whilst trying to balance the benefits of an increased source of natural ventilation to help minimise the spread of Covid-19.

Further guidance on the use of heaters and ventilation systems is available within the CIBSE COVID-19 Ventilation Guidance which outlines the importance of increasing the ventilation rate as much as reasonably possible, limiting recirculation of air and maintaining a safe and comfortable temperature for the occupants.

Prior to use, we would encourage risk assessing the use of any ventilation and heating systems to ensure that the environment is suitable for the activities being performed. Heating systems may be required to keep your working environment within a safe temperature range and should be used where necessary.

We would encourage club managers to consider the following points within risk assessment:
• Could you set timers on fan assisted heating systems to heat up any areas prior to gymnasts being in attendance and training taking place (to minimise the use of heating systems during sessions)?
• How can you provide a source of fresh air ventilation before, during and between training sessions?
• Can you maintain a source of fresh air ventilation by opening a window or door (as this is the most effective known method of clearing microdroplet airborne particles created when someone coughs, sneezes or shouts)?
• What are the manufacturers guidelines on the best use of the heating or ventilation system to prevent the spread of Covid-19?
• Can air conditioning systems be adjusted to ensure a fresh air supply?
• Have you (in the absence of known ventilation rates), considered a carbon dioxide sensor to be used as a surrogate indicator to switch on additional mechanical ventilation or open windows.

If making any changes that could have an impact on your risk assessment, consider how to minimise further risks, such as leaving the door open which makes the floor wet and potentially slippery. Ensure to record new actions and processes and communicate these to effectively to your team and members.

Health and Safety legislation indicates that an employer must maintain a reasonable temperature in a workplace. There is a minimum temperature of 16°C (or 13°C if the work involves considerable physical activity).

We encourage clubs to familiarise themselves with section 5 of the Working Safely during Coronavirus Covid-19 guidance which specifically covers ventilation

If you need any further bespoke advice, please contact Agility Risk and Compliance for further support; Tel: 01527 571612 or Email: bg.hs.advice@agilityrac.com.
20/05/2021 - What guidance do clubs need to follow?
With guidance constantly changing and evolving, it is important that clubs seek up-to-date guidance from national government and local authorities to ensure compliance with Covid-19 regulations.

DCMS - People who work in grass roots sport and gym/leisure facilities
Gymnastics clubs should follow the guidance issued for 'people who work in grass roots sport and gym/leisure facilities' by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). This contains all the relevant information to resume gymnastics activity safely. Within this guidance, reference is made to the guidance for 'Protective measures for out-of-school settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak' issued by the Department for Education (DfE). This makes specific reference to children taking part in indoor group activity and the group sizes stated are applicable to gymnastics clubs. Clubs offering gymnastics specific out of school provision and holiday clubs can do so without being Ofsted registered providing the children are aged 6 and above.

DfE - Protective measures for out-of-school settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
Clubs offering gymnastics specific out of school provision and holiday clubs for children aged 5 and under, lasting for more than 4 hours must be Ofsted registered. If you are running out of school provision and holiday clubs that do not offer any indoor gymnastics activity e.g. arts and crafts only, please consult the DfE guidance and Ofsted.
20/05/2021 - What are the clubs’ responsibilities under the Test and Trace system?
The club has a responsibility to maintain registers of staff and members who are in the facility and a note of the date and time they have been in the facility. If somebody who has been in your facility tests positive for Covid-19, the test and trace may ask the infected person or their carer to provide details of anyone they have been in contact with. These registers will assist in this process. It is also important that the club has updated its privacy policy to make parents/carers aware, that the club may have to provide personal details (names and 2 types of contact numbers) of members to the test and trace if they request it. GDPR information and FAQS can be found here.

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