Sask Volleyball has updated the Return to Play protocol, changes are highlighted in yellow and will be posted on the Sask Volleyball website later today. Below is a summary of where we’re at with Club Volleyball this fall/winter, including changes to our protocol…
1. Team Composition
Sask Volleyball has operated in the past with an open concept to athlete and coach selection, and this was a major concern for Sask Health in discussing Sask Volleyball plan to operate club volleyball this winter. In order to gain Sask Health approval and operate a club volleyball season, Sask Volleyball has agreed to the following restrictions for Team Composition for the upcoming 2020-21 season. Unfortunately this will likely mean that some athletes and coaches from larger communities will be unable to participate in club volleyball if there is limited or no access to facilities in that community. Obviously this isn’t fair for them, but its not something we have control over. The best option for an athlete and coach from a larger community with limited or no access to facilities in that community would be to seek out a club or facility space in a small community within 150km of their residence.
• Athletes and Coaches must declare their home residence address on the Sask Volleyball 2020-21 Team Registration Form.
• Club teams must declare the address of their main training centre on the Sask Volleyball 2020-21 Team Registration Form.
• Coaches or Athletes who reside in one of the Major Centres listed below may not participate with a club team whose main training centre is located within a different Major Centre (i.e. Regina resident cannot play on a team from Saskatoon, etc). Bedroom communities are not considered part of a Major Centre. The following communities are designated as a Major Centre:
o Moose Jaw
o North Battleford
o Prince Albert
o Swift Current
• Coaches and Athletes may only participate with a club team within 150km of their home residence address.
• Exemptions for Coaches or Athletes to participate with a club team outside of 150km of their home residence address will be taken on a case-by-case basis. No exemptions will be considered for Coaches or Athletes who reside in one of the Major Centre to participate with a club team within a different Major Centre. To request an exemption, contact Cara Orr at firstname.lastname@example.org with a written description of the circumstances around the exemption request prior to registering.
Sask Health is much more concerned with residence from one major centre travelling on a regular basis to another major centre, and less concerned about the 150km rule, as the former has a much greater potential to spread the virus, should someone within a program contract COVID-19. Sask Health indicated we cannot allow exemptions from major centre to major centre, but exemptions can be considered in exceptional circumstances with the 150km rule. Please note that when registering, an athlete or coach should be entering their home address where they reside at least 50% of the time. Sask Volleyball retains the right to ask a member to provide proof of their main residency at any time. Failure to follow Sask Volleyball’s Team Composition policy will be investigated as per our Code of Conduct and Discipline and Complaints policies, and consideration for removal of membership for both member and member club.
Going forward, any newly approved development programs will need to follow the Team Composition policy as well. Current Approved Development programs will be allowed to continue to operate with their current registered athletes and coaches up to November 30th.
Volleyball will also continue to be limited in Mini-Leagues to a maximum of 50 participants. Each club team will be allowed to have up to 13 individuals on their roster, including athletes and coaches who cannot social distance. Any coach who attends competition with the team on the bench will be considered in breach of social distance and must count towards your teams number. Any coach who only attends practice and agrees to maintain social distance during practice will not count towards your teams number. All coaches will be required to wear a mask during practice and competition.
2. Club Registration
If not already complete, and if your club is planning to organize one or more club teams, you will be required to first fill out a Club Registration Form and provide club contact info, description of what age-groups you plan to organize, and agree to Sask Volleyball policies. The Club Registration form is now live and can be found in the VRS… https://site2733.goalline.ca/register.php?reg_form_id=37452
If you’re planning to run just a development program this fall and winter, you can still use the Approved Youth Volleyball Program form, which is currently live at https://site2733.goalline.ca/register.php?reg_form_id=37046
3. Athlete Selection/Evaluations
Sask Health has indicated that a future update to their Sask Re-Open Plan will include the allowance for individuals to participate in more than one Mini-League at a time in one sport. They want to encourage individuals to limit how many Mini-Leagues they are involved with, but will no longer restrict it to just one per sport. Athletes will be permitted to attend evaluations on an as needed basis if they don’t have a club team to play on. Clubs are encouraged not to hold in-person evaluations if at all possible, but if its necessary you will need to keep each gathering to 30 participants. Clubs will need to apply to Sask Volleyball to sanction an evaluation session, and Sask Volleyball will need to discuss with the club how they propose to run the activity before it is approved.
4. Team Registration
Clubs can begin to register teams in the VRS on Monday, November 16th. Teams will need to include all athlete and coaches contact info and ensure it complies with Sask Volleyball’s Team Composition Policy, and Sask Volleyball will confirm approval of the team once the coaches have been verified to comply with our Screening Policy. All registered coaches will need to complete the Respect in Sport course or equivalent, as well as submit a recent Police Records Check from 2018 or more recent.
The team will also be asked to subjectively rank themselves as a Division 1, 2, or 3 team, based on the coaches best estimate on where the team would finish at provincials during a normal year. This will help Sask Volleyball organize Mini-Leagues in the winter.
5. Official Start of Club Season
Club teams can start practicing on Monday, November 30th providing they have registered in the VRS and their coaches have been screened and approved. There are a number of Approved Development programs currently operating around the province, many of which are planning to end later in November. In order to limit the number of programs running at the same time, Sask Volleyball will keep the club practice start date at November 30th. If there is a group of athletes and coaches that want to begin training before November 30th, they can fill out the Approved Indoor Development program form currently on the VRS and receive sanctioning for that.
Sask Volleyball will organize Mini-Leagues for each age-group, based on region and competition. As of right now, tournaments are not allowed, so any competition will not lead to any provincial championships. Therefore, the purpose of the Mini-Leagues will be to attempt to provide meaningful competition for all participants within a safe environment. Teams will be placed in a Mini-League for the Sask Cup 1 period of January 1st-February 7th, and Sask Volleyball will plan a one-day Sask Cup for each Mini-League near the end of this period. Its assumed that the government will allow Mini-Leagues to mix after a scrub period of 14 days. Therefore, Sask Volleyball will re-mix the Mini-Leagues after Sask Cup 1, and run the Sask Cup 2 period from February 8th-March 21st. The Sask Cup 3 period will be March 22nd-April 25th.
Deadlines for registration into the Mini-Leagues will be announced shortly.
*The government has indicated that league competition should remain within one community or facility when possible. Therefore its possible that all Sask Cup competition will be held in Saskatoon at the Henk Ruys Soccer Centre, as it has the ability to host more Mini-Leagues while keeping each Mini-League separated from each other. It is also possible that Sask Health will want us to organize some competition in the south and some in the north, so a second location in Regina or other south community is still possible.
All these dates and plans are subject to change of the Sask Re-Open plan, Sask Health, facility availability, and registration numbers.
Sask Volleyball is planning to purchase masks for everyone involved on a registered club volleyball team, including athlete and coaches, as well as registered referees. We expect to receive the masks in approximately six weeks, and will communicate a distribution plan shortly.
It should also be noted that for competition, protocol is expected to include a requirement that athletes from each team will need to perform the scorekeeping and lineperson duties, and not volunteer parents. Sask Volleyball will be working on training resources for clubs to utilize for these tasks.
Sask Volleyball currently has a Emergency Funding Support grant available for groups to apply for, to support programming that happens between September 1st-December 31st, 2020. You can find the info at http://www.saskvolleyball.ca/emergency-relief-funding/. Sask Volleyball will also have its usual MAP grants available for clubs to apply for. Clubs can receive grant moneys through both of these grants, but the expenses and receipts for each must be different.
Sask Health is going to let us know shortly as to whether we would be able to run some regional Provincial Team training in conjunction with Club Volleyball. Sask Health is attempting to create a protocol for all Provincial Teams from all sports to follow.