Jets – Return to Small Group Training

We are finally getting close to being able to return to training.

It is vitally important that we return to training in a manner that is consistent with the ACT Government and AFL Canberra requirements and guidance.  For this reason, the Board, committees, coaches and volunteers have been working through the return to training frameworks and ensuring the Jets are set up to comply and keep our players, volunteers and families as safe as possible.

There is a lot in this message – please take the time to read this so you can be as fully informed as possible regarding the Jets’ return to small group training.

Timetable for returning to training:

In returning to training, members should note that not all parts of our club are working to the same timeframes.  For example, in respect of our netball players, we are awaiting guidance and a return to training framework to be developed by Netball ACT.  We understand this is well underway and should be released soon.  Similarly, for our footballers, our seniors are in a position to start training next week in line with instructions provided by our Senior President (Rohan Wilson) and our Head Coach (John Love).

Our juniors will return to training in a staged way from next week – in close consultation with our Junior President (Lisa Burns) and our junior coaches (junior coaches should refer to the information provided to them last weekend by Lisa and ensure they address the issues within that email, including liaising with Lisa on training times prior to commencing training).  Junior coaches will be in contact with their teams in due course, notifying players of times and groups for training.  Training times may be different to previously advised. The Framework places limitations on how many groups can be on the oval at any given time, therefore access to oval space is going to be challenging for the entire club – for this reason, coaches have been asked to think about training on afternoons / evenings / weekends to stagger the demand on space throughout the week.

Unfortunately for our Auskick players (Rookie and Pro), the AFL’s return to small group training does not include them at this point.

High on everyone’s mind at the moment is when we might start playing games.  AFL Canberra and Netball ACT have not yet provided any guidance on when competition may commence.  As this progresses we will keep members updated.

Please find below some important information for the entire club as we start the return to training process.

COVID Safety Officer:

Each club is to appoint a COVID Safety Officer as part of the return to training framework.  The Board has appointed one of our directors, Terry Evans, to act as the Jets’ COVID Safety Officer.

This role is a central point of contact to oversee the Jets’ arrangements in returning to training (and ultimately to playing).  Terry will work with a representative from each of the Senior Committee, Junior Committee and Netball Committee to ensure arrangements across the club are appropriate and are being followed.

As the COVID Safety Officer, Terry is also the point of contact in the event that one of our members contracts COVID-19.

If there are any specific questions about the role of the COVID Safety Officer, or if any player or volunteer involved in the return to training has contracted COVID-19, the quickest and easiest way to get in contact with Terry is at a dedicated email address we have set up: jets.covid@gmail.com or on 0438150508.

General principles for returning to training:

The ACT Government has set out general principles for returning to training.  These are:

  • Training only – get in, train and get out;
  • Outdoor sports only;
  • Groups of a maximum of 10 people (this includes coach);
  • Practice good hand hygiene before and after training;
  • Change rooms, canteens and kitchens remain closed – arrive dressed and ready to train;
  • Stay home if you are unwell;
  • Don’t share drinks or towels;
  • Sharing of equipment such as balls is permitted however should be kept to a minimum. If equipment needs to be shared, it will require proper cleaning and disinfecting during and between sessions;
  • Sportsgrounds must be booked prior to use;
  • Follow the one person per 4 square metres rule to ensure sufficient physical distancing between participants;

AFL Guidance on small group training:

AFL Canberra also have provided a great deal of guidance on clubs returning to small group training.  The link to those resources is as follows:

In addition to the ACT Government’s guidance, key points out of the AFL’s return to training framework that we must ensure we comply with in returning to training include:

  • Teams must strictly adhere to the maximum of 10 participants per group (inclusive of coaches and support staff).
  • No more than three groups of 10 participants are allowed on an oval – the oval will be divided into three sectors.
  • Groups of 10 must not mix with each other and must not swap between groups (within each session and across weeks – this includes the coach as part of that group).  
  • If working in pairs, pairs should be consistent across the session.
  • A register of attendees at each training session must be maintained.  This, and the requirement to not swap between groups for the foreseeable future, create an environment where contact tracing can occur in the event of a player or volunteer testing positive for COVID-19. (Coaches are to submit the attendance register to jets.covid@gmail.com at the completion of each session)
  • Change rooms and the Hangar are not available for use (toilets will be open).
  • No physical contact between players.
  • Social distancing of 1.5m must be maintained at all times – when arriving for training, when having discussions in your group of 10 and when training.
  • Only footballs and field marking cones should be used – no other equipment.
  • Any spectators, including parents or caregivers, must remain outside the boundary line and observe social distancing.
  • Wherever possible, junior players are to have a maximum of 1 parent/caregiver at drop off / pick up and at training.
  • Any player or member that has underlying health conditions or is considered a vulnerable person should consult with a healthcare professional prior to returning to small group training.

Importantly, if a player or parent/caregiver feels uncomfortable about returning to training (for example if there is an underlying health issue), that is completely fine – there is no pressure on any player to return to training in the current environment.  If players or parents/caregivers have concerns, please raise them with your coach initially and also feel free to bring them to the attention of the Jets’ COVID Safety Officer (details provided above).

As an aside, the AFL is encouraging all players, parents and caregivers to download the COVID Safe app to your phones and have this activated if you bring your phone to training.

Hygiene protocols for small group training:

Maintaining a high degree of hygiene is the responsibility of everyone returning to training.  Specific hygiene protocols in the AFL documentation include:

  • Alcohol based hand sanitisers will be available for training – each team of 10 participants will have its own bottle of sanitiser which has already been purchased by the club.
  • Cleaning wipes for footballs have been purchased – each team of 10 participants will have its own pack and they must be used before training and after training.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
  • AFL had initially recommended that players not wear mouthguards during training at present given there will be no contact (however, guidance has now been changed to say if wearing a mouthguard, limit touching/removing mouthguard).
  • No sharing of water bottles, food or towels.
  • Avoid spitting or clearing nasal passages.
  • Avoid high fives, handshakes or other physical contact.
  • Players are responsible for their own strapping if required (prior to arrival at training).
  • No player massages or physio.

Next steps:

The above are strict requirements that the club expects all coaches, volunteers and players to meet.  Please play your part in ensuring full compliance.  Finally, and I can’t stress this enough, if anyone is feeling unwell please do not attend training.  Please stay at home and seek appropriate medical assistance and testing.

In summary:

  • Senior Football will commence training next week in line with the information you will receive from your coaches.
  • Junior Football will commence training in a staggered way from next week.  Coaches will be in contact with their players to advise of training times and starting dates.
  • Netball will commence training in coming weeks.  We await the Netball ACT return to training guidance but are ready to be able to implement this quickly to enable a speedy return to training.
  • Auskick, is unfortunately not participating under the AFL return to small group training framework as yet.  We hope to have better news in the near future about a return to Auskick.

If you have any questions about the above, please contact your coach, your Junior/Senior/Netball President or our COVID Safety Officer or a member of the Board.

I wish our players all the best as we start small group training in the coming days and weeks.  Enjoy getting back to training but please do your bit in ensuring the Jets present a safe environment and that the Jets are seen as an absolute role model for our community.

All the best to you all,

CheersShane

Shane O’Keeffe
Chairman