Rugby Ontario Announces Return to Play Plan
July 17th, 2020
(WHITBY, ON) - Rugby Ontario is pleased to announce the release of the Rugby Ontario Return to Play Plan that will facilitate the return to sanctioned rugby activities in the province of Ontario. The plan was developed in accordance with the Government of Ontario and public health restrictions and the Rugby Canada Return to Rugby Guidelines, which were approved by Rugby Canada on June 19th, 2020. The Rugby Ontario Return to Play plan has been approved by the Rugby Ontario Board and sanctioned by Rugby Canada Board.
“We are very excited to mark the return of rugby in Ontario,” said Myles Spencer, CEO of Rugby Ontario. “Our sport, like all others, has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but one thing has remained constant – an eagerness throughout our entire community to get back on the pitch once safe to do so. Our organization has worked diligently to make this happen. I would like to personally acknowledge the patience and collaboration shown by our Member Clubs and Branches while we have navigated this complex process and unprecedented time.”
The Rugby Ontario Return to Play Plan has been developed to support and provide direction for all Member Clubs & Branches to ensure a safe return to activities within their respective rugby communities. This Plan is structured around mitigating risks through five (5) phases of gradual easing of restrictions based on government-ordered public gathering and physical distancing restrictions, and are distinct from the Government of Ontario’s Stages of the Reopening Ontario framework and Emergency Orders. With the release of this Plan, Rugby Ontario is entering its first phase of Return to Play; however, those clubs within public health unit regions cleared for the Government of Ontario’s Stage 3 will be permitted to apply for sanctioning to advance to Phase 2. An announcement will be made when Rugby Ontario is prepared to enter its third phase.
To help facilitate the Return to Play Plan, Rugby Ontario has appointed Joe Schissler and Ryan Jones as the Rugby Ontario COVID-19 Managers. Joe Schissler has been with Rugby Ontario since 2016 and is the Competitions, Events & Marketing Manager. Ryan Jones joined the organization in 2018 and is currently serving as the Rugby Development Manager for Rugby Ontario. The COVID-19 Managers will act as primary points of contact for inquiries related to Return to Play and Rugby Ontario’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In order for Member Clubs to resume conducting sanctioned rugby activities, they must follow the proper protocols and Club Sanctioning Process outlined in the Return to Play Plan. This process includes the need to complete a Club Risk Assessment & Mitigation Checklist, and create a COVID-19 Safety Plan and Emergency Action Plan. Additionally, clubs will be required to appoint one or more COVID-19 Safety Coordinators, who must complete the World Rugby COVID-19 Return to Play Awareness for Administrators course. The World Rugby Return to Play Awareness courses for Administrators, Coaches and Players are highly recommended for any club decision-makers and anyone involved in facilitating return to play programming.
As rugby activities begin to return across the province, players must also do their own due diligence to share in the responsibility of reducing the risk of community transmission. Returning to in-person rugby activities is optional. Each participant is responsible for determining if attending any in-person rugby activity is safe for them and their household. Before every training session, all participants will be required to complete an online self-assessment called an attestation. The attestation is in place for participants to declare they are not showing COVID-19 symptoms and to acknowledge they have not been in contact with a possible or confirmed case within 14 days. Participants must also be registered with a sanctioned Member Club and have confirmed their attendance to the permitted activity via the club’s attendance tracking system.
“Throughout the entire Return to Play process, Rugby Ontario has kept a guiding principle of prioritizing the safety and wellbeing of all participants in our sport and our communities across Ontario,” said Spencer. “We ask that all participants do their part to ensure the health and safety of others by adhering to the Return to Play protocols, government orders and public health restrictions.”
For more information on the Return to Play process, visit the Rugby Ontario Return to Play webpage: www.rugbyontario.com/return-to-play. If you have any other questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out to your local Club or Branch.
ABOUT THE ONTARIO BLUES
The Ontario Blues program is the high performance representative program for male and female rugby players in Ontario. Rugby Ontario is represented at the provincial level by the Ontario Blues. The program includes representative teams from Under-15 to Senior in both Women’s and Men’s Fifteens and Under-18 Men's and Women's Sevens. Specifically, the program is designed to develop and showcase rugby players for Canadian representative national teams.
ABOUT RUGBY ONTARIO
Rugby Ontario is the provincial sports governing body responsible for the organization of rugby in Ontario. Our mission is to establish a stronger identity for rugby in Ontario by promoting the sport’s core values and by fostering a culture of inclusiveness and excellence on and off the field of play.
To learn more, visit https://www.rugbyontario.com/
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Communications and Marketing Coordinator - Rugby Ontario