Return to play date.
Currently there is no specific proposed date for a return to play in WA, but next Friday 8th May, the National Cabinet has noted will be a significant decision point on a national basis with an indication that further easing of restrictions would be made at that time.
In addition many of you will have seen/heard that the Northern Territory yesterday released a clear plan for a return to all levels of sport including contact sport in the Territory. This had clear guidelines and time frames with dates that included contact activities with effect 15th May and Competition 5th June. This is certainly a good indication of what can happen.
What this means for WA.
How this transitions into specific dates and milestones here in WA is however yet to be finalised. Once these are confirmed by the WA Government then we will be able to form a more specific plan with expected dates that is relevant to WA.
In these positive developments we should all note the importance of the staging process of the transition and the supporting measures required to facilitate this. The Government are unequivocal on the importance that the COVIDSafe App plays in this transition.
It is Rugby WA and Rugby AU’s position that this app is an important part of the strategy to assist in managing the ongoing fight against this virus and its impacts on us all. In terms of our society and then our sport it is fairly simple, the use of this app will assist in the Tracing component of the medical system’s capacity to protect people and assist in managing the virus.
We therefore strongly encourage you and your club members to support and promote the download and use of this app. In the words of the Federal Sports Minister, “If you want to get out to play, then download the App today”.
COVIDSafe App Information
For those with privacy or other concerns on the detail of the app, any and all details are as published on the Federal Government information site: https://www.health.gov.au/using-our-websites/privacy/privacy-policy-for-covidsafe-app If you or any member of your club/community have concerns then I encourage them to review this detail and in particular the FAQ.
Return to play protocols
Over the last few weeks there has also been some detailed planning work undertaken with regard some return to play and general community operations. Once these are finalised they will be released shortly afterwards. The key principles in these guidelines include:
- The safety and well-being of all participants.
- Assisting and enabling measures that assist with the minimisation of the risks associated with COVID-19 virus.
- Facilitating a transition back to physical activity levels including back into contact and the necessary techniques and conditioning to facilitate that safely at all age/grade levels.
- Rugby WA and Clubs having a formal and specific COVID-19 management plan.
At this stage we simply ask clubs, players, coaches and parents to seek to understand that these measures, with support and advice for you at club level will all be evolved and finalised shortly. Once this done and communicated then we can all make more specific plans that can allow us all to comply and follow these guidelines to enable the best chance of the transition being sustained.
As part of the return to play planning we have obviously been looking at the playing of some form of structured competition and season variation at both Junior and Senior level. As part of this Rugby WA staff have been undertaking a range of engagements and dialogue with you to gather your input. This is still underway and will be continued for those who have not yet been fully involved. As soon as we have a specific date for return to play, then we can then finalise the plans and the options for how this will operate. I simply ask for your patience as this is then documented and put into a form that can and will be shared with you all.
So for today I encourage you to:
- Promote the COVIDSafe app to your club members and the value of its use across our community.
- Understand there will be protocols and plans required at club level for any return to play.
- Communicate with your community.
- Be prepared to undertake your own planning for how you, your club and teams will undertake the various steps that will be required in a return to playing process.
On behalf of the Rugby WA Board & Junior Executive
John Edwards Francis Williams Mike Gowdy
Chair Rugby WA President Rugby WA President Rugby WA Juniors