Covid and grassroots rugby: some notes from the U.S.

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Flyin Ryan
Posts: 9957
Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2012 11:05 am
Location: Indiana

Covid and grassroots rugby: some notes from the U.S.

Post by Flyin Ryan »

Was on a call last night with the Midwest Rugby Union which encompasses 14 states in the Upper Midwest of the U.S. The leadership went through the details of playing rugby when it returns and what that looks like. Thought I'd share some bits of it for the American posters on here, but also if anyone has their own local stories:

-No details yet from USA Rugby on when play comes back
-All states are at different phases based on the state of the virus locally, and if two teams in different cities are at different phases they pretty much can't play, this also applies to players for teams where the team's home base is okay, but the player if living in a county in a worse phase can't play for them
-All states inside a league are at different phases, means they cannot have league play
-We have insurance for players, it does not apply to spectators. Anyone that plays an "outlaw" contest obviously the insurance won't apply.
-They were hearing from the Empire GU (Northeast) that some of their clubs that play in public parks were told they wouldn't receive a permit to play until end of 2020.
-Any practice or game a team holds they're required to take the temperature of everyone and record it. Anyone with a fever is sent home and can return in 14 days if showing no signs. Supposed to document everything like with sanitizing. A club compliance officer (which is my job with my club, oh joy) supposed to forward to local area union.
-Any player that ends up positive for Covid wipes out everyone he/she played with at a practice or game - both teams - for 2 weeks.

So my thoughts on all this is:

1.) My club hosts a big summer tournament every year, I think these guidelines mean we're going to just cancel due to potential risk.
2.) Social distancing to an extent will still be done. Obviously you're not doing anything about the scrum, ruck, etc., but items like no sharing water bottles and no carpooling. The first should be done anyway but in reality will not be followed by everyone. The latter if actually practiced would drastically cut down the number of teams capable of playing a road game.
3.) There's a whole bunch of pretending/cover your ass in these guidelines. I get it's probably "things like this will be done or there's no rugby", but I'm at the lower levels of American rugby organization, and at my level about 90% of clubs absolutely suck at documentation for creating match records as required. You now are asking all of them to record temperatures of every player every practice/game.
4.) In light of #2 and #3, I see a lot of clubs saying that if this is the rules they'll just skip the fall and come back in the spring. I don't see how leagues that cross state lines can operate. Might make sense to declare it "open" and clubs are responsible for setting up their own schedules.
5.) I appreciate the people on the call said what they had to say, but I look at implementation and wonder about practice. You can setup laws or rules in anything, people actually following said laws and rules is something else entirely. And in club rugby, my experience is they skate around them as much as they can, be it due to they don't have the resources or want to do the bare minimum required. Enforcement is going to be effectively "tattling", and any player that is positive for Covid is going to feel a huge unstated pressure to not report to not sideline everyone from his own team but also anyone he played against.
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