Health & Safety Protocols - Updated Aug 31, News (Whitchurch Stouffville Minor Hockey Association)

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Health & Safety Protocols - Updated Aug 31
Submitted By webmaster on Saturday, August 29, 2020
There has been considerable discussion in the Media re: parental concerns about the health and safety of their children as it relates to the upcoming school year.  Some/ many of you may have similar questions as it relates to the resumption of minor hockey.  

The WSMHA has been working steadily over the past six months to prepare and obtain approval for our return-to-play plan.  The foundation of this plan is the health and safety of players, volunteers and spectators.  The attached health and safety plan has been endorsed by the OMHA.  We trust that it will answer any questions you may have re: the measures which will be in place to protect you and your loved ones when hockey resumes.  As always, we invite your questions and suggestions.

Monitoring and Communication

The WSMHA Office Administrator has been assigned the task of monitoring Hockey Canada, OHF and OMHA websites and portals for updates to protocols and regulations, and ensuring that such updates are communicated to members of our Board of Directors.  The WSMHA President and Secretary attend all York Simcoe Minor Hockey League (virtual) meetings which have become an excellent source of information from the OMHA as well as local government and health units,

Sub- committees of the Board have been established to deal specifically with a) health and safety issues, b) recreational programs and c) competitive programs.  These sub-committees meet on average once per week and jointly contributed to the WSMHA 2020-21 Return-to-Play plan recently distributed to parents and players.

The WSMHA Risk Management Director will be responsible for health and safety oversight once programs commence.  She will focus primarily on protocol management/ enforcement, and specifically on the collection, storage and distribution of contact information based on the OHF Session Participation Tracking and Health Screening Questionnaire.  She has evaluated various apps for the electronic capture, storage and distribution of data based on these forms and the Board has approved the purchase of one of these apps which we hope to make available prior to program commencement.

Member questions/feedback are fielded by the Office Administrator who is responsible for ensuring timely and appropriate responses.

Formal and general communication to the membership re: return-to-play is the responsibility of the Board Secretary.

Meeting with Facility

The WSMHA President has taken direct responsibility for communications with the Town.  Town officials have been extremely cooperative in communicating with us and addressing our questions and concerns. WSMHA representatives eg our ice scheduler have also established informal communication channels with appropriate staff.

Members of our Board along with other major ice user groups last met with Town staff on August 5 where we received a comprehensive update on “facility management” plans and protocols.  These included traffic flow, signage, conduct within the facility, adherence to Town procedures, dressing room/washroom use, PPE requirements etc. Those regulations and procedures which have been finalized have been incorporated in our plan. Staff is aware that we are seeking a clear interpretation on participation quotas per facility which are obviously critical to completing our program plans and health and safety protocols.  They are in the process of obtaining guidance from health authorities on this issue.

Volunteer Responsibilities

Board members will meet with coaches and trainers for all recreational and competitive teams prior to Stage 3 B) program commencement in September for a comprehensive review of protocols and procedures.  Meeting will focus specifically on roles and responsibilities of team staff as it relates to on-ice requirements for social distancing.

Each team will be required to designate a parent volunteer (and back-up) who will be responsible for collecting and submitting information required to complete the OHF Session Participation Tracking and Health Screening Questionnaire forms at each team “event” (practice or game).

Arrival at Facility

The Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville has taken responsibility for traffic flow, procedures and signage at both the Stouffville Arena and Clipper Complex. Depending on the facility, participants and spectators will be directed on how to proceed upon entering and exiting the facility to minimize physical contact and maintain social distancing.  All participants/ spectators will be required not to enter the facility until at least 15 minutes before the scheduled start of their event and to leave within 15 minutes of its completion.

Hygiene Requirements

All participants will be required to wear masks upon entering the building and until they are permitted on the ice.  They will be required to wear masks once they leave the ice surface until they leave the facility.  Coaching staff will be required to wear masks during games. All spectators must wear masks while they are inside the facility.

Any participant or spectator who tests positive or “fails” the Health Screening Questionnaire will be denied further participation in our program until they have met local health authority requirements to return.

If a participant or spectator tests positive or is suspected of contacting Codid-19 all members of their bubble will be advised immediately and we will follow the advice of local health authorities as to next steps.

Physical Distancing

Participants and spectators will be asked to maintain physical distancing while they are in the facility.  This will be supported by traffic flow procedures and signage.

Dressing Rooms, Washrooms (updated Aug 31)

Dressing rooms will be closed when arenas open, anticipate them to open within a few weeks

There will be designated dressing areas (for skates and goalie accessories) at each rink

There will be public washrooms available for each Pad 


On-ice Physical Distancing

Coaching staff will be responsible for maintaining physical distancing as much as possible during practices and on the bench during games.  We will limit the number of coaches and trainers on the bench to two during games.

Meeting With/ Communication To Parents

The WSMHA has surveyed participants and parents from last season via email.  We had a 77% response rate and obtained considerable information re: intent to return this season (90%+), their questions and their concerns.  The questions and concerns informed key elements of our return-to-play plan.

We followed up with another email to the same group (and an article on our website) on August 11 outlining the WSMHA’s 2020-21 Plan for Return- to- Play.  We subsequently posted an FAQ article on our website covering additional questions.

In early September we will post the Hockey Canada Safety Guidelines on our website.

Prior to program commencement the WSMHA will communicate with parents to provide an overview of what to expect this season, the safety protocols we have put in place and our expectations in terms of their role in maintaining a safe and healthy environment. 

Completion of OHF forms for All Events

As previously indicated, the OHF Health Screening Questionnaire and Contact Tracing forms will be completed for all participants at each event either in hard copy or electronic form.  The information will be stored centrally for quick access and distribution should a concern arise.  The centralized file will be maintained and supervised by a designated member of the WSMHA Board of Directors (Risk Management Director).

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