Thank you to all those BF members who took part in this week’s COVID-19 Officer’s Community Discussion Events . We had over 90 individual BF affiliated clubs represented and it was great to see so many of those clubs putting aside time to be part of the conversation.
A reminder, that clubs must now appoint a COVID-19 Officer to act as the primary point of contact for BF, Home Nations, facility/venue operators, and club members. Clubs can now register their COVID-19 Officer on their club membership profile on the BF membership platform. Follow this step by step guide to complete your registration today.
The discussions covered a lot of detail relating to the logistics of returning to fencing including the advice around face coverings and activity bubbles.
We do not state that face coverings must be worn whilst fencing. However it is strongly advisable that they should be worn and used in accordance with the club and venue risk assessment (which MUST exist) to protect individuals. There are no specific age or fencing activity exemptions indicated by BF.
As the government guidance changes in this area (specifically around age of participant) it is up to clubs to make an appropriate risk assessment for their club environment based on all the relevant factors.
During 1:1 fencing activity younger fencers are typically shorter which requires them to get closer to hit each other. They may also not be as technically able to retreat from attacks and thus be spending longer time at closer distances. Any risk assessment around use of face masks or fencing mask liners for young people MUST include consideration of these aspects.
The information available in the Return to Fencing Guidelines states; Whilst not engaging in activity everyone should wear face coverings. Face coverings should be worn whilst coaching and refereeing. Face coverings can be worn under fencing masks for low intensity training. Participants (fencers and coaches) wearing face coverings should monitor their breathing and heart rate and take regular breaks. If face coverings are not being used, fencing mask liners should be worn. Where face coverings are used, coaches should adapt lessons and training to keep physical intensity levels low with frequent breaks
Face coverings can also be worn for footwork and warm up activity and intensity levels should be adjusted accordingly.
A maximum of six fencers must be grouped together; the number will be determined by the space you have in order to maintain social distancing. You can have more than one group in a hall however, this will depend on the space available and your ability to maintain social distancing and appropriate welfare standards. Indoor space must allow for 100sqft/9.29m per person. Fencers cannot change groups within a session, they must stay within their allocated group but are able to change groups at the next session.
If I am working in a school do I need to restrict sessions to groups of 6?
If you are delivering to pupils in a school (either in curriculum or as part of an after school club only for pupils of that school) then coaches have the flexibility to agree with the school an increase in the size of the group, based on the size of the venue and the current ‘bubbling’ practices of the school. Other than when two people are fencing (attempting to hit each other with swords, lessons included) all participants in the session must observe 2m social distancing. Coaches are still advised to run adapted sessions that minimise transmission risk – and therefore splitting the participants up into smaller groups of around 6 for the fencing element of the session should be considered.
For more FAQs please see our information page here.
Please note that clubs operating within a local lockdown or outside of England will need to check the latest government advice relevant to them. We have updates and links to pages here in our COVID-19 Zone.
Please see also, the links below that highlight all the key areas clubs should be aware of;
Club Checklist – what can I be doing to prepare my club?
Introductory Membership Promotion– We’ve invited all previous non-members to sign up for 90 days’ free BF membership to ensure all participants are insured to fence when they return to their club.
All information surrounding the discussions can be found here, along with the sign-up forms, and we will publish an official calendar with upcoming discussion events soon.
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