Tier 4 restrictions and the implications for DCH

DCH and Durham University/Team Durham have discussed the implications of the recent inclusion by the government of our area in Tier 4 arrangements directed at combating the spread of the Covid 19 virus.

As you are all aware the addition of a fourth tier to the initial three tiers was prompted by the increase in the speed and spread of infections resulting from the relatively recent mutation of the virus. Sadly, this has seen an alarming increase in the numbers of infections and subsequent fatalities. The negative impact this has had on the ability of the NHS to cope is well documented.DCH and team Durham are therefore agreed that taking all possible measures to minimize the possibility of activities at Maiden Castle contributing to the spread of the virus has to be the number one priority.

We are all, from time to time, a little puzzled by some of the restrictions/advice/laws emanating from the government directed at combating Covid 19. However, on balance it seems sensible not to fight any battles we cannot win. Therefore the following closely matches recent advice issued by the government and by England Athletics.

With effect from Monday 4th January:-

  1. Group sporting activity (competition or training) for over 18’s is not permitted.
  2. Groups of under 18 athletes can train at Maiden Castle but must adhere strictly to all rules and requirements of England Athletics and Team Durham (see later).
  3. Family groups may exercise together in outdoor environments but not at Maiden Castle without permission.
  4. Individuals may exercise with one other person. Again, permission has to be obtained to do so at Maiden Castle.
  5. The university is looking at the feasibility of students who are sharing accommodation with other students being counted as part of a family group.
  6. Members of one family group cannot exercise with members of another family group.
  7. The university is also looking at the feasibility of coaching taking place for students on the basis of one coach per one athlete as per England Athletics advice.
  8. The maximum number of people on the track area inside the high fencing remains at 30.

All activity taking place at Maiden Castle MUST adhere to the requirements of Team Durham’s Covid 19 risk assessment and those set out in DCH’s Covid 19 risk assessment. The essential elements of both are:-

  1. Coaches must wear face coverings at all times whilst on the Maiden Castle site. Coaching is not compromised by the wearing of appropriate face coverings. Coaches not wearing face coverings will not be allowed on site.
  2. Athletes must wear face coverings at all times until they commence warming up. As soon as sessions are completed face masks must be worn.
  3. Genuine efforts must be made to observe social distancing whilst on site including during coaches briefings and individual discussions with others on site. The difficulties of social distancing by athletes during the training sessions is acknowledged.
  4. Parents, guardians, relatives and friends of athletes are not permitted to remain on site after dropping athletes off for training. They must arrange a time for collecting athletes at the end of the session. Whilst they are on site face coverings must be worn at all times. Coaches with young athletes in their group must take responsibility for ensuring that the athletes have been safely collected after sessions.
  5. Any equipment in use must be sanitized before and after use and any person handling the equipment must use hand sanitiser after use.
  6. Hand sanitiser must be used before and after entering the buildings on site (e.g. to use the toilets).
  7. A fully Qualified UKA Coach must be on site at all times in order to oversee activities on site. This relaxation of much tighter UKA/England Athletics requirements is currently permitted by Team Durham whilst DCH are experiencing a shortage of qualified coaches. DCH have given an undertaking to remedy the situation as soon as possible.
  8. All members of DCH must adhere to any instructions issued by members of Team Durham staff.

Access to the track:

Prior to the universities Christmas break and because of the limit of 30 people (including coaches) allowed on the track at any one time a rota system was introduced in order to stay within that limit whilst ensuring that all individuals and groups have equal access.

Most members of DCH understand and accept that these restrictions on access to the track are required. It is worth noting that the staff at Maiden Castle have complimented DCH on the manner in which they have managed these arrangements for the benefit  of both members of DCH and the student athletes during the difficult times created by the pandemic. They are grateful to all of the coaches and athletes involved.

Whilst the number of students and older members of DCH using the track will be much reduced because of the governments ban on over 18’s engaging in group sporting activity it is unfortunately not advisable to suspend the rotasystem. If all of the young athletes, sprint and middle distance groups wished to use the track at the same time together with their coaches the limit of 30 could be exceeded. The relevant coaches would then have to sort out the “overspill”.

The Long Sprint Group will be virtually non-existent due to the ban on over 18’s. However, as mentioned earlier, one on one coaching may be undertaken by that groups coaches and will therefore require some access to the track at all four sessions. Therefore the rota system will resume from where it left off on 10th December:-

Tuesday 5th January​​ Middle distance and Sprint groups.

Thursday 7th January​ Junior and Long sprint groups.

Tuesday 12th January​ Junior and Long sprint groups.

Thursday 14th January​ Middle distance and Sprint groups.

Tuesday 19th January​Middle distance and sprint groups.

Thursday 21st January​Junior and long sprint groups.

For now, Saturday and Sunday sessions are open to all groups but a close watch on numbers who use the track will be undertaken and action will be taken if the 30 limit is exceeded.

From Monday 4th January DCH’s times of access to the track reverts to:-

Saturday​10.30am  – 12.00 noon.

Sunday​11.00am  – 12.00 noon

Tuesday​ 7.00pm –  8.00pm

Thursday       7.00pm  –   8.00pm

We will of course take any opportunity to have greater access to the track. We will also keep you informed of any changes to the above arrangements.

The government have indicated that the current Tier 4 arrangements will be reviewed when they have been in place for two weeks. Given that it will be some weeks/months before the vaccine programmes take effect it may be advisable to assume that Covid 19 arrangements will be in place for some time.

Please help to keep yourself and those around you safe.

Happy New Year.

Shaun Day​   Chairman

Max Coleby   Covid19 rep.

2 Jan 2021

Club Activity / COVID Update – 2nd Jan 2021