Sport Australia has released a Return to Sport Toolkit available to download for all sports to assist them in resuming competition at all levels.
The suite of practical resources focuses on giving community sporting clubs and associations a roadmap for the safest return to sport at all levels.
It comes with comprehensive checklists, adaptable COVID-19 safety plans and templates that can be used by sporting organisations at any level. It is in step with the AIS Framework for Rebooting of Sport in a COVID-19 Environment and the Australian Government’s National principles for the resumption of sport and recreation activities.
As guidelines vary state-to-state, Softball Australia still recommends liaising with your relevant State Governing Body in regards to restarting your competitions and/or training.
“Sport Australia’s Return to Sport Toolkit will arm Softball Clubs and Associations with safe policies and procedures before allowing the sport to continue,” said David Pryles, Chief Executive Officer at Softball Australia.
“As we’ve stressed from the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the safety of our participants is our number one concern, however we’re also aware of how important returning to softball can be for the community.
“I encourage all Club and Associations to reach out to their relevant state body to help get us back on the diamond safely and efficiently.”
Sport Australia Acting CEO Rob Dalton said the Return to Sport Toolkit is primarily aimed at supporting the safe resumption of community sport, with many clubs and associations reliant on a dedicated workforce of volunteers.
“The main thing I want to emphasise to all sport and participants is that public health is the most important consideration – advice from your Government health authorities is paramount. I urge all sporting participants not to jump the starting gun without first the consent of your relevant State and Territory Government health authorities,” Dalton said.
“Australia’s sporting community is desperately keen to get back in the game and resume playing the sports they love, but we need to ensure that is done in a safe, responsible and low risk manner so that we can keep moving forward towards the full resumption of sport.
Minister for Youth and Sport Richard Colbeck said: “Sporting clubs and organisations across Australia will play an enormous part in getting the nation back on track as we recover from the impact of COVID-19.
“The safe return of competition relies on a responsible rollout where everybody follows advice and takes precautions.
“We have a big challenge ahead of us – but together the National Principles, the AIS framework and Sport Australia’s toolkit offer tangible advice to ensure community sporting groups are prepared to control and deal with the virus in this new era.”
Sport Australia’s Return to Sport Toolkit guides clubs and associations at every level to document their own COVID-19 Safety Plan and appoint a COVID Safety Coordinator to implement and oversee it. As part of the Toolkit, a checklist works through practical and progressive steps such as: relevant approvals from your Government and National Sporting Organisation; facilities management; training behaviours; hygiene protocols; management of illness and; communicating these processes with members.
“The Toolkit works through four stages of return to sport: Prevent, Prepare, Respond and Recover,” Dalton says.
“In the Prevent stage, it concentrates on steps like getting your COVID-19 Safety Plan in place and communicating that with members. Practical steps in the Prepare stage are looking at safe facility practises, like hand-sanitisers, attendance registers at training and limiting shared equipment as much as possible.
“Sports also need to be prepared for illness management, noting things can change quickly in your local area, which is covered by the Respond and Recover stages.”
The Return to Sport Toolkit can be downloaded at sportaus.gov.au/return-to-sport