Martin O’Sullivan, Chairman of Water Safety Ireland
A Message From Our Chairman:
Return To Water Safely – 19th September 2020
Dear Members and Friends of Water Safety Ireland,
It is a great privilege to announce that Water Safety Ireland courses can commence nationwide from Saturday September 19th 2020. As you know, Covid-19 disrupted many of our activities in March when all classes had to be cancelled with public health in mind. I extend my thanks to those who have been instrumental in getting us to the point where activities can resume.
While we are delighted to welcome you back to our courses, there are a number of new procedures put in place consistent with best practice public health guidelines, which aim to ensure our volunteers and participants get the chance to teach and learn in the safest environment possible. I invite you to familiarise yourself with these procedures in advance of your return to the water. Doing so will guarantee that classes are run more seamlessly and that the experience is a safe and enjoyable one.
1) All members engaging in Water Safety activities are required to complete Sport Ireland’s Covid-19: Return To Sport E-course in advance of the resumption of activities. It is mandatory for all members intending to engage in water safety activities to undertake the course prior to attending classes, including instructors and participants alike. The good news is that the e-course does not take long to complete. Topics covered include hygiene, group participation and other public health advice. Access to the e-course is available on the Sport Ireland website here.
2) Participants will be obliged to fill out our Supplementary Covid-19 Participant Enrolment Form prior to the commencement of activities. This is to be filled out in addition to the usual enrolment forms used by Water Safety Area Committees and only needs to be completed once. The form contains a series of 6 yes/no questions which will ultimately help prevent the spread of Covid-19 at our courses.
3) All volunteers must complete the Volunteer Return To Water Safety Form, which is similar to the Supplementary Covid-19 Participant Enrolment Form, but is for specific use by our fantastic volunteers such as instructors and teachers.
Attendance and Contact Tracing
4) Upon arrival at the Water Safety activity/class, all participants will be asked to provide relevant contact information to the facilitator/chaperone for the purposes of filling out the Contact Tracing Record Attendance At WSI Activities form. This form does not take long to complete. Participants will be required to provide some basic contact details, which will be used in the event of a suspected or confirmed case of Covid-19. Attendees will also be asked to verbally declare they do not have Covid-19 symptoms, that they are not self-isolating or awaiting results of a Covid-19 test, and that they will agree to absent themselves from WSI activities should either of these circumstances change.
In summary, participants must complete items 1, 2 and 4. Volunteers like instructors and teachers must complete items 1 and 3, while also providing guidance to participants where necessary to complete items 2 and 4.
To assist the implementation of the new procedures, our committed Water Safety Area Committees will be appointing a Covid-19 Officer/s. These individuals will be a dedicated point of contact regarding all things Covid-19; helping to facilitate the process of returning to the water safely in line with up to date public health advice, and liaising with relevant individuals and organisations on public health matters.
Water Safety Ireland has updated our syllabi to align with public health guidelines and have been made available to Water Safety Area Committees. The modifications have been made to ensure the utmost safety of both our volunteers and participants.
We encourage all members who are running courses/classes to follow and apply the latest public health recommendations from the Government and Health Service Executive in relation to social distancing and group sizes. As you are well aware, throughout the summer, Ireland experienced a phased reopening of society and business in which Covid-19 regulations gradually eased. However, further restrictions were imposed in recent weeks, highlighting just how quickly the situation and public health guidelines can change. We all have a responsibility to adhere to the most up to date Covid-19 regulations, particularly in the context of group activities. Please consult with your Water Safety Area Committee’s Covid-19 Officer/s should you have concerns or queries.
Finally, I thank you in advance for being patient as we all work together to bring these new protocols into place. These are exceptional times that require a degree of learning, adaptability, and collaboration from us all. There will be an initial period of transition, during which we can all help each other to become accustomed to the additional processes. I am confident, that your enthusiasm and co-operation will guarantee that Water Safety activities continue throughout the coming months.
Chairman, Water Safety Ireland