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Background Information COVID-19 is a viral infection which is highly infectious and contagious. COVID-19 disease is caused by infection with a virus, technically named SARS-CoV-2 virus, is a newly identified (novel) virus and the seventh (7th) Coronavirus known to infect humans. The resulting viral illness is referred to as COVID-19 disease. This virus is in the same coronavirus family as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV or SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV or MERS), which caused the two previous coronavirus epidemic outbreaks, and have similar physical and biochemical properties and comparable transmission routes as COVID-19.

There is no effective treatment or vaccine. Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience no symptoms or mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Those who are infected may be infectious for 48 hours before symptoms appear. Based on current knowledge, younger healthy people are less likely to develop severe symptoms. However, if infected, they may spread the disease to their families, friends, colleagues, and teammates.

Transmission of Virus COVID-19 viral disease is most likely spread from person to person through:

  • when an infected person coughs or sneezes
  • close contact with an infected person while they are infectious (in particular by spending more than 15 minutes of face-to-face contact within 2 metres of an infected person or living in the same house or shared accommodation)
  • touching surfaces that are contaminated by droplets coughed or sneezed from an infected person and bringing your unwashed hands to your face  

Symptoms It can take up to 14 days for symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) to appear. Individuals may have no symptoms but have the virus and pass the infection to others. Virus shedding appears to be highest at the time of symptom onset and just before the onset of symptoms.

Common symptoms of coronavirus include:

  • a fever (high temperature of 37.5° C (degrees Celsius or above)
  • a cough – this can be any kind of cough, not just a dry cough
  • shortness of breath or breathing difficulties
  • loss of sense of smell (anosmia)
  • loss of sense of taste (ageusia) or distortion of sense of taste (dysgeusia)

Less common symptoms of coronavirus include: • diarrhoea • aches & pains • conjunctivitis • rash • chilblains on fingers/toes    

Staying Safe – 5 Rules to Follow Safe return to contact sports is the personal responsibility of each player and backroom member.

(1) Wash your hands frequently Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water (for 20 seconds). Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.  

(2) Maintain social distancing Observe social distancing guidelines (currently 2m) and keep this distance between yourself and others, especially anyone who is coughing or sneezing. When 

someone coughs or sneezes, they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including COVID-19 if the person coughing has the disease.

(3) Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth Hands touch many surfaces and surface to hand transfer can spread the virus. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick. (4) Practice respiratory hygiene Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. If using tissues, you should dispose of the used tissue immediately and wash your hands. By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect the people around you from all viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.

(5) If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early CALL YOUR GP. DO NOT VISIT THE DOCTOR’S SURGERY OR GAA FACILITY. Stay home if you feel unwell. Follow the directions of your GP and public health service. This will protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.  

Assessing Risk/Vulnerable Groups Current public health guidelines have identified groups who are vulnerable. An extensive list is contained as part of the more in-depth medical information available on the GAA website at https://www.gaa.ie/api/pdfs/image/upload/dbrquujnn6bwinpfl1u0.pdf.

The most common categories are:

  • Age over 70 years (even if fit and well)
  • Undergoing treatment for cancer
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Asthma (uncontrolled)
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiac disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Obesity

Members who have a concern regarding personal higher risk, or a family member / household contact with higher risk, should discuss the situation with their GP (or an appropriate medical professional) before making a decision on whether to return to activity or not.  

Risk – Adult v Underage players The HIQA document “Evidence summary for spread of COVID-19 by children” published in May 2020 indicated that there is low transmissibility among children less than 14 years old. Serious illness in children is rare to date. There are low rates of child-to-adult or child-to-family member transmission in the limited number of studies available. As with all situations there is a risk of infection but it appears to be lower in children. Outdoor activity appears to further lower the risk. There are a number of actions that can be taken to lower the risk of infection during activities.

  • Do not share personal equipment such as water bottles
  • If summer camps proceed, it is advisable that children limit their involvement to one camp
  • Communication with parents of the relative risk is important so that they can make an informed decision on their desire to have their children engage in small group activity. A minority of children may have diseases that put them at higher risk and the level of risk needs to be assessed by their GP and parent(s)/guardian
  • Having smaller groups with the same supervisor/trainer and equipment assigned to each group

Parents should be advised to promote behaviours in younger age groups that will reduce the spread of the virus such as:

  • Staying at home when appropriate
  • Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
  • Adequate hygiene supplies
  • Signs and messages
  • Activities confined to a geographical locality  

Health Questionnaire/Temperature Checks Prior to each training session, and until further notice, players, parent/guardian and backroom personnel should complete the self-administered standard risk assessment health questionnaire (“Health Questionnaire” – this will be covered in the Gaelic Games online education module) – see Appendix 1. Symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, general weakness, shortness of breath, and change in taste or smell will be identified. Each participant is also advised to check & record their temperature on the health questionnaire. The presence of symptoms, or temperature over 37.5°c precludes attendance. In such circumstances, the individual should telephone their GP for advice and management.

These measures will be reviewed in conjunction with national public health advice.    

MORE INDEPTH MEDICAL INFORMATION ON COVID-19 IS AVAILABLE ON THE GAA WEBSITE AT THE FOLLOWING LINK: https://www.gaa.ie/api/pdfs/image/upload/dbrquujnn6bwinpfl1u0.pdf

REMEMBER: Positive symptomatology or temperature over 37.5°c precludes attendance.

In such circumstances, THE GP SHOULD BE TELEPHONED – DO NOT ATTEND SURGERY OR GAA FACILITIES.

PREPARING FOR A SAFE RETURN

Gaelic Games training is likely to return for clubs, initially on a non-contact basis, once Government confirm that they are proceeding to Phase 3 of their Roadmap for Re-Opening Society and Business, and to games once Phase 4 of that plan comes into effect. The information below will help clubs to prepare for a return to activity in these phases.  

1.Preparation of facilities Dressing Rooms, Gyms and Social areas should remain closed in Phase 3 and until further notice. (a) Signage Appropriate signage in line with public health guidelines should be placed at the entrance of club facilities, in car parks, at the entrances of toilets and pitch side. These signs should be clearly visible and easy to understand. Signs should emphasize the government recommended social distancing rules (2m at present), hand hygiene, respiratory hygiene, avoidance of personal contact, shaking hands and spitting etc.

(b) Hand gel dispensers Hand dispensers should be provided in the car park, toilets, entrance to pitch and pitch side. Appropriate disposal bins for hazardous biological waste to be available and clearly marked.

(c) Toilets Toilets must be regarded as potentially contaminated areas. Ventilation is important, doors and windows should remain open in so far as is reasonable and appropriate. Basic hygiene etiquette adapted to the circumstances should be promoted: for example, use of elbows to open doors, and using paper towels to turn taps on and off. On exit of toilet, use hand sanitizer. There should be a regular cleaning programme with daily deep disinfection in place.

(d) Pitch side Signage regarding social distancing, personal contact, coughing, sneezing, spitting, hand sanitizing to be clearly visible. Only players and essential team personnel should gain access. Medical personnel (physios, doctors) should wear masks. Facilities for disinfecting balls, sliotars, hurleys, helmets, gloves etc to be available and to be used regularly.  

(e) Medical isolation room In the unlikely event that a player becomes unwell during a training session, facilities will be in place for immediate isolation in a designated medical room (this could be

a dressing room as they will not be in general use) containing the appropriate personal protective equipment. There will be a clearly defined protocol for linking up with the appropriate medical service – for example, local accident and emergency department (in the event of an injury), general practitioner or out of hours GP service.

2.Covid Supervisors for Gaelic Games Every club will require to have a number of Covid Supervisors who will require to familiarize themselves with the Gaelic Games online education module that will be provided. Initially, each Club Secretary and Chairperson (or their nominees) will be invited to complete an online module so that each Club understands both the Role and the purpose of Covid Supervisors.  

Following on from that, it is envisaged that every team in the club should have someone nominated with responsibility for Covid Supervision present at each training session or game. These nominees will be provided with training and information on their exact role via the Gaelic Games online education module.

Covid Supervisors will be on duty and will be clearly identifiable (for example, standardized bib) at all times while facilities are open until further notice

Further details in this context will be provided to clubs during Phase 2 (June 8th – 29th). However broadly speaking the main duties of the Covid Supervisor will include: a) Distributing and collating player and backroom Health Questionnaires before each session or game b) Ensuring sanitising of facilities is completed before and after each training session of game (e.g. Toilets, door handles etc.) c) Maintaining records of attendees

The Health Questionnaire: Prior to each training session, players and support staff will complete a standard risk assessment health questionnaire (“Health Questionnaire – see Appendix I). Further information on this process will be covered in the Gaelic Games online education module – in the case of underage players, the questionnaire should be signed by a parent or guardian.

Temperature Checking Each participant will record their temperature on the health questionnaire. While it is the responsibility of the individual to record their own temperature, clubs should make provision for temperature checking on site in instances where this has not been recorded in advance. The presence of symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, general weakness, shortness of breath and change or absence in taste or smell prevents attendance with a recommendation that the player contacts their general practitioner

Sanitising of facilities At the end of each training session, the Covid Supervisor should ensure all door handles, playing equipment (e.g. balls, hurleys, sliotars etc.), the medical room and the Toilet(s) are sanitised before use by the next team or training group.  

Attendance records/data management The Covid Supervisor will ensure that the record of everybody attending each training session will be available in the event that contact tracing or other intervention is required. Data management will be consistent with GDPR guidelines.

3.Scheduling of activities Timesheets should be used to clearly show what teams are using club facilities at what times. The principle of “get in, train and get out” will apply. There should be a time interval between teams departing having completed training and the next team arriving. Attendance will be limited to essential personnel. Compliance will be necessary to ensure efficiency and harmony.

4.Education of club members This is a rapidly evolving situation and as such, Covid Supervisors will have a role in conveying and explaining policy decisions and guidelines from Croke Park. Changes in community transmission rates, associated advice from public health authorities and directions from Croke Park may require to be addressed urgently with appropriate adjustments.

5.Protocol for Participation Players and team personnel should be provided with this document and have completed the Gaelic Games online education module prior to participation. Participants are also required to change at home, travel separately (except family members), shower at home and where possible use toilet facilities at home. Strapping should be applied at home. All players should use their own individual and clearly labelled water bottles. In phase 3, and until further notice, physical contact with other players will not be allowed – further detailed information in this regard is included in the next section.  

Section 3 – INFORMATION FOR PLAYERS AND TEAM PERSONNEL  

(1) Key Control Measures for players, coaches and backroom personnel Changes to the team environment for all Gaelic Games activities will continue in line with best available public health guidance measures. These measures are aimed at minimising the risk of Covid-19 transmission, and every person involved on a Gaelic games team, both club and county, has a responsibility to adhere to them at all times.  

Personal hygiene, self-isolation if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, social distancing, restricting group numbers and limiting travel are the most effective means of prevention of the spread of the virus. In the team environment, both in training and games, undertaking even more careful measures to avoid exposure and spread will be paramount.  

Until medical advice permits otherwise, the Key Control Measures for players, coaches and backroom personnel to prevent transmission of COVID-19 and allow for safe resumption of Gaelic games are:  

  1. Education & Awareness: • Complete the online Gaelic Games online education module through the GAA eLearning platform (further information on this will be provided during Phase 2) • Ensure continued awareness of safety protocols relating to your role as a player, coach or mentor.
  2. Pre-Attendance Screening – all players and personnel will be required to comply with the following requirements every day they are going to attend training or games until further notice: • Complete the health questionnaire before leaving home (see Appendix 1). This will require you to identify if you have any symptom(s) – the presence of symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, general weakness, shortness of breath and change or absence in taste or smell prevents attendance with a recommendation that the player contacts their general practitioner. The completed form should be presented to the Covid Supervisor on entry to the facility. • Ensure you have recorded your body temperature prior to entering the training or playing facility. If your temperature is above 37.5C you must return home and consider contacting your general practitioner r for advice or referral. • If a club or county player/member develops symptoms of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), the player should not attend a training session, skills practice session or game, and will need to self-isolate immediately and phone their GP for medical advice. The player should not attend the medical practice or surgery of their doctor, or pharmacy, healthcare clinic or hospital. The doctor will evaluate the symptoms over the telephone and provide the necessary medical advice  
  1. Adhere to hygiene best practice • Frequent hand washing, sanitising, and regular cleaning and washing of gear and equipment. • Avoid the following: spitting, sharing water bottles, touching high contact surfaces (e.g. door handles) • Use of face masks where applicable
  2. Observe Government advised social distance guidelines (currently 2m) until further notice
  3. Avoid or Reduce body contact to a minimum • Shaking hands, clapping hands, ‘high fives’ and embracing to be completely avoided • Until measures are reduced, physical contact must be avoided. In Phase 3, only non-contact training can take place
  4. No access to changerooms: • All clubhouses, changerooms and shower areas are NOT to be used until further notice. • Toilets will be available on a controlled basis.
  5. Travel to and from training – follow Government social distancing advice in relation to all forms of transport to training and play • If possible, walk or cycle to the venue • If travelling by private vehicle, such as a car, only travel with members of the same household • Avoid the use of public transport where possible (if it is the only option follow Government guidelines)
  6. Refrain from events such as team meetings – eliminate all non-essential gatherings and put robust control measures in place for essential interaction • Team meetings should be held outdoors or in spaces that allow for compliance with Government social distancing guidelines (currently 2 metres) • All other meetings should be held online • In line with Government Roadmap guidelines, social events are not permitted  
    1. Reduced training groups – the following outlines permitted numbers through the phases: • In Phase 3, teams must only train in small groups and adhere to social distancing guidelines (currently 2 metres) • Cohort Group 1 (u14 and below) begin training – small groups (not more than 10 players/2 coaches in a designated area of the pitch) for non-contact training under social distancing guidelines – where players can maintain the Government advised distance from each other (currently 2 metres) • Cohort Group 2 (15-18) begin training – small groups (not more than 10 players/2 coaches in a designated area of the pitch) for non-contact training under social distancing guidelines – where players can maintain the Government advised distance from each other (currently 2m) (Note: Underage groups must be comprised in accordance with the ratios provided for by the Code of Behaviour. Parental or guardian sign off on the Health Questionnaire will be required for underage participation) • Cohort Group 3 (Adult) begin training – small groups (not more than 10 players/2 Coaches in a designated area of the pitch) for non-contact training under social distancing guidelines – where players can maintain the Government advised distance from each other (currently 2 metres) • Players should refrain from full contact training until further notice or the GAA advises it is moving on to Phase 4 • Coaches and support personnel must observe social distancing rules at all times • It is essential for county and clubs to have a clear schedule of use at their facilities and to allow transition time between groups as outlined in Section 2 of this document.  
      1. Ensure sessions take place outdoors • All Players and Teams must conduct their training sessions outdoors; no changing Facilities will be available for Players and Teams until further notice.  If you have any questions, ask for clarification from a Covid Supervisor  10 Covid-19 Guidelines on Safe Return to Gaelic Games    (2) EDUCATION All players (parents or guardians in the case of underage players) and personnel involved in training must complete the mandatory Gaelic Games online education module which will be available on the GAA eLearning portal (further information will be provided during Phase 2) and record or document a certificate of completion for the Covid Supervisor prior to any resumption of training and/or playing activities  This online module will include information such as:  ✓ COVID-19 disease update information (including symptoms) ✓ Information on Club facilities use ✓ The Role of the Covid Supervisor ✓ Health Questionnaire ✓ Reporting protocols ✓ Contact tracing ✓ Personal, facility and equipment hygiene standards ✓ Training protocols ✓ Transport guidelinesEducation materials – posters etc – will be visible throughout GAA facilities as per section 3 of this document.  Players (parents or guardians in the case of underage players) and personnel will sign the Health Questionnaire (sample included as Appendix 1) indicating that they understand the risks involved in participation, that they are participating on a voluntary basis and that all participants may opt-out at the start or at any time before or after resumption of training and playing activities.  (3) RESPONSIBILITY It is essential that everyone in the club works together to ensure compliance with these guidelines. • Each ‘Club Executive’ will be responsible for ensuring that a Covid Supervisor is assigned to each team, and will ensure the full cooperation of participating officials, coaches, mentors, players, medical and sports science and allied support personnel and parents. • Teams should return to training for and playing games in a staged manner • Each Covid Supervisor will be responsible for ensuring COVID-19 protocols, including collation of health questionnaires, and cleaning and sanitising of facilities are followed. They will also be responsible for ensuring only necessary personnel are admitted to the venue for a training session or game • Each Team Manager will be responsible for overseeing player and support personnel compliance • Each Mentor and Player shall ensure compliance with COVID-19 guidelines within their own area and for health and safety of their colleagues • Parents/Guardians will be responsible for dropping underage players to, and collecting underage players from, training sessions or games in Phases 3 and 4 and until further notice.  11 Covid-19 Guidelines on Safe Return to Gaelic Games  Section 4 – SAFE RETURN SUMMARY AND CHECKLIST The GAA envisages the re-opening of its playing facilities (pitches) only once the Government is happy to move to Phase 3 of the Government’s Roadmap for the Re-Opening of Society and Business. Initially the return to training will be for small groups as outlined in the GAA Safe Return Roadmap that follows,  In order to ensure your club is ready for a Safe Return in Phase 3, you need to ensure the following: 1. This document has been circulated to all players and team personnel intending to return
      1. You have familiarised yourself with the basic Medical Information in Section 1 of this Document  
      2. You have completed the actions outlined in Section 2 of this document for preparation of Facilities
      3. The Secretary and Chairperson of the Club – or their nominees – have completed the online Gaelic Games education module
      4. Each team returning to training has a nominated Covid Supervisor who has completed the Gaelic Games online education module
        1. A timetable system is in place so that individual teams in each club are aware of their allocated training times
        2. All participants have completed the Gaelic Games online education module
        3. A system is in place for completion of player health questionnaires and recording of temperaturesFurther information on aspects of the GAA Safe Return Roadmap, including information on Training and Education modules will be circulated to Clubs as it becomes available during Phase 2 (June 8th to June 29th)  Next screen shot on phone,1213 Covid-19 Guidelines on Safe Return to Gaelic Games  resistance training, agility and ball work.Players cannot share equipment (such as water bottles) and all other equipment used must be sanitised before and after trainingContact tracing measures to be in place.All participants to complete Health Questionnaire and submit to Covid Supervisor on entry to the ground at each sessionCovid Supervisor to ensure temperature of all team participants is recorded on the Health Questionnaire before entry to ground. If Temperature is over 37.5°c individual must return home.All players and coaches to sanitise their hands – on entry and departure from grounds.No access to indoor club training facilities permittedClub facility to display signage and information for managing Covid-19.Parent/guardian must drop off and collect child at the club.#Separate spectators from players in line with social distancing requirements.(#Further information on Spectators and spectator safety will be provided before Phase 4 commences)*The dates outlined above for Phases 3-5 are contingent on the plans of the 

APPENDIX 2 – Gaelic Games Covid-19 Advisory Group

The members of the Covid-19 Advisory Group are: Shay Bannon (Chairman) – existing Chairman of GAA Health and Safety Committee

Professor Mary Horgan, (U.C.C. and President of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland)

Dick Clerkin (Chairman of GAA Medical Scientific and Welfare Committee)

Dr Pat O Neill (Dublin)

Dr Kevin Moran (Donegal)

Dr Jim O Donovan (Limerick)

Dr Sean Moffatt (Chair of Gaelic Athletic Medics Association and Mayo team doctor)

Paul Flynn (CEO Gaelic Players Association)

Stephen Mc Geehan (Head of Operations, Ulster GAA)

Tony Mc Guinness (Events and Safety Manager, Croke Park)

Sinéad Mc Nulty (CEO, Cumann Camogaíochta na nGael)

Helen O Rourke (CEO, Ladies Gaelic Football Association)

John Horan (Uachtarán CLG)

Tom Ryan (Ard Stiúrthóir CLG)

Feargal Mc Gill (Director of Player, Club and Games