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Dear GNA members,

Again, I would like to thank you for your patience in relation to the current Global pandemic and the 2020 season.

Last night a zoom information session was conducted with 4 GNA executive members and 1 representative from each club. The Information session was to discuss the return to training at Adcock Park.

  • How we can manage this based on the Netball Australia Risk Assessment guideline template.
  • What clubs were required to do with regards to providing GNA their own risk assessments.
  • How we could manage return to training in general.
  • If and how clubs and coaching staff felt about returning to training, especially as we have extra construction at Adcock Park, limited parking and parents unable to attend (must wait in their car as per Govt directive).

There is a large amount of consideration being put into a return to training program. This involves additional volunteer hours from GNA, clubs and a coaching perspective for a season that may or may not go ahead depending on NETBALL NSW, Department of Health & State Government COVID rulings.

Clubs have indicated they required more time to complete their risk assessments for the return to training and we established a lot of club coaches were anxious about returning to training based on their work commitments, families and coaching more than 1 club team in some cases that equals a higher risk of exposure.

A new training start date of 15/6/20 was proposed and agreed upon. This will allow a few extra weeks to monitor our younger players returning to school and mixing with more children.

Another Presidents meeting will take place 3/6/20 after GNA’s next executive meeting to monitor the COVID situation and any changes with regards to the season.

Just confirming training for club teams will not resume for clubs until 15/6/20 at this stage. It is of the utmost importance we continue to listen to and support our clubs large and small within our GNA competition.

We strongly recommend all members download the COVID app when training does resume. Clubs will have team registers with court number, names and times should we just have 1 member test positive to COVID that has been at GNA training the process to trace and sterilise is lengthy. All players, members, coaches must isolate and be tested. The results take around 3 days and this may affect your family, business, work, school etc. This may be a coach that has 3 teams therefore 30+ members would now be isolated and affected. The more exposer the higher the risk and the stronger the procedures will need to be. Keeping in mind each member should only be at Adcock Park a minimum of 1 hour per week so clubs may then be short of coaches and your team unable to train for that reason.

Be patient, supportive, calm and considerate when speaking with your club executive. They have the well-being of all club members and are making decisions not based on 1 player or team but the club as a whole.

The GNA steps still in place :

  • Clubs checking with their teams if they would like to resume training 15/6/20.
  • Clubs/Teams who wish to resume training will be required to abide by the Risk Assessment guidelines put in place.
  • Everyone involved in the return to training must sign a copy of the risk assessment to acknowledge they have received it and understand what is required to return to training. Clubs will keep these on file until requested by the GNA Secretary.
  • The lights will be on from Monday to Friday (at a cost to GNA). Training times will be 3.30pm to 8.30pm and Saturday times to be advised (no lights).
  • Clubs will advise GNA if they would like to OPT IN to training and the number of teams that will be training by Saturday 6th June 5pm.
  • GNA will then allocate a number of courts and court numbers to clubs who will manage their own teams, training nights/day and times.
  • A full register of players, coaches etc attending training MUST be kept with what time and court number they were on. This is mandatory in case there is a COVID outbreak.
  • Courts need to be allocated by clubs keeping in mind the “people per Court Rule & only allowing maximum 1 hour training sessions at a time and 1 session each week”. NO ONE a can be on the sidelines. Based on social distancing required they may only want to allocate 30 minute training sessions.
  • Clubs/Teams/ Players will need to provide their own sanitiser, wipes, first aid kits and ice packs as per Risk Assessment.
  • The clubhouse will be closed, however the external toilet at the side of the clubhouse will be available to players that are training & GNA will provide sanitiser for the toilet.

We would like to point out it is not compulsory to attend training and we will make this very clear to clubs to filter that information to their coaches & families. There may be many players for personal reasons unable to rejoin their team at this stage. Training will be non contact and include social distancing so coaches will need to be creative.

REFUNDS

We can only touch briefly on the refund situation at this stage. memberships are broken up in 3 portions. (NNSW, GNA, and Club levies).  Netball NSW announced during their special COVID meeting last Sunday that if community netball goes ahead they would not be issuing refunds for their portion of membership fees. HOWEVER, they were looking at financial hardship policies, clauses and grants and assessing each circumstance individually. If community netball is cancelled it would be put to the Netball NSW Board of Directors to approve refunds for the Netball NSW portion of all player fees. GNA are more than happy to refund the GNA portions once we know more information on a competition start date and if a competition is possible for 2020. Ideally players can carry their fees over to the 2021 season and there are still discussions in place with Services NSW regarding the Active Kids Vouchers and how they will work for players requesting refunds. These things take time and we want to provide you the correct information as it continues to change daily.

From a club perspective, we have asked Club Executive to communicate with their members regarding club refunds if and when available (once we know more from a NSW level). They may have already purchased equipment for the 2020 season along with the additional expense of sanitiser etc. It may not be possible for a full refund and this may place some additional financial strain on our clubs. A suggestion to reduce club costs is players to provide sanitiser, tissues and hand wipes at all training sessions when and if training recommences.

After finalising this information letter this morning I have since personally spoken with Darren Simpson, Executive General Manager Community & Pathways from Netball NSW today to keep him in the loop with regards to our clubhouse renovation, my concerns on behalf of our clubs and their members with regards to refunds and to ask Netball NSW in general for support/ideas on how we can manage a season if it goes ahead. I have also asked for our membership circumstances to be looked at with regards to refunds (after our Presidents meeting last night) and for Netball NSW to keep in mind the additional obstacles/challenges we may face for the 2020 season that we were not expecting. Darren appreciated the communication and feedback. I will tonight put this in writing to Netball NSW for their record on why we believe our members should be refunded if they choose not to participate in the 2020 season.

COMPETITION

We are unable to issue any information at this stage with regards to a competition start date until after our next Executive meeting on Monday 1st June 2020 and only if at the meeting we have received any further updates from Netball NSW regarding the COVID restrictions. We understand some members are asking questions but at this stage it is out of our control and to issue any information would not be accurate and we would be guessing.

We thank you all for your patience and support during this challenging time and will continue to keep you updated as circumstances change.

Kind regards,

Belinda Beresford

President

Gosford Netball Association