With the return of underage rugby, we enter a happy phase of reopening of activity in Galwegian’s Rugby Club, and I felt it would be of help to outline some of the steps that parents which parents will have to take to help the club keep the children safe and having fun outside, which is our highest priority.  I highlight a few of the important points here.

1.  Outdoor activity is probably the safest form of social interaction available to all of us at present, as open spaces and wind and fresh, circulating air disperses viral particles away from areas of high concentration as well as anything we have available.  So we believe that the environment that we have in the club will be a very safe area.  Not even the virus likes a blustery day in Galway!

2. If the child has any signs of being unwell, please do not allow them to train.  If there is any doubt, keep them at home.

3.  Each team has at least one COVID Compliance officer per team who will be in attendance at every training session.  Please follow any instructions that they give you or your child.  Their role is to ensure compliance with the IRFU guidelines and to report to myself as Club COVID Safety officer.  They do not have any discretionary powers so please respect any of their instructions, they are volunteers taking on extra responsibilities, and have very little personal leeway in terms of the adhering to safe practices that they are monitoring. 

4.  All participating players of any age have to have a Fitness to Return to Play declaration form filled out EVERY time they come to training.  This should be done via the Clubforce app which all parents should download. In order to utilise this facility, all players of any age will be required to be registered.  This should be completed ON THE DAY OF training, not the day before.  Your team coaches and Compliance Officer will assist you with set up of the app. and registration etc.

5. Travelling in a car together has been shown to be a dangerous environment for virus transmission.  Thus people from separate family ‘bubbles’ or ‘pods’ must NOT travel together in a car to or from training.  Thus car pooling, or giving lifts to your child’s friend should be avoided.

6.  Public transport should also be avoided to get to training.  If there is no alternative, either skip training, or make sure that older children wear a mask in keeping with CIE regulations. 

7.  Please arrive as close to start time of training (no more than 5 minutes before), with the player fully dressed for training.  Please do not congregate together (players or parents) before or after training.  Please leave the ground as soon as possible using the one way system in effect.  Again, do not congregate with other parents after training.  Dressing rooms, showers and the bar will be closed for the foreseeable future.  Please park at least one car space away from each other thus allowing adequate space between parked cars.

8.  Water bottles, bibs, training tops etc. are not to be shared between players.  The players should try and bring their own hand sanitiser, but there should be hand sanitiser available going on and off the pitch.  There is to be no hugging, hand shakes, high fives etc.

9.  One parent per each underage player is allowed to come to training and wait for them.  However, spectators are not allowed, so if you wish to wait in the ground throughout the training session, please stay in your car. This is a challenging time for everyone, but especially young people who are being denied many parts of their young lives, and have been distanced from their friends.  However, if we all work within the guidelines that are laid out, we should be happy kids laughing and exercising in a safe environment as soon as possible.

Please also read the most recent IRFU Return to Play Guidelines. See especially the section on “Guidelines for Club Members”. We advise all parents to read the information carefully.

David Bouchier-Hayes