The COVID-19 Pandemic is clearly a serious and evolving crisis, with literally hourly changes in recommendations, guidelines and restrictions. There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19, so the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus. The safety and health of our rowing community is CRF’s number one priority.
As of today, Governor DeWine has recommended that all indoor sports competitions be held without spectators, but outdoor sporting events can continue as planned. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in their current policy statement notes if schools decide to dismiss classes, they “should also cancel extracurricular group activities and large events, such as club meetings, performances, social events, athletic team practices, and sporting events.” They “should also discourage students, staff, and faculty from gathering or socializing anywhere.” Given the fluid nature of this crisis, we encourage coaches, rowers and their families to regularly check the CDC website for updates: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
Individual Member Organizations clearly have the purview to implement their own guidelines and restrictions, and indeed need to adhere to their organization’s guidelines and dictates. CRF’s goal is to adopt procedures to minimize the risk for rowing athletes to contract, and potentially spread, the COVID-19 Virus.
What we know about this virus is that it is transmitted most directly through coughing, which produces droplets in the air which others can inhale. It is also transmitted by infected individuals touching surfaces, where the virus can survive up to several days, and then others touching the infected surface and then touching their mouth/nose/eyes. This is why the primary recommendation for prevention is “social distance”, meaning staying more than six feet away from anyone coughing, and minimizing the time you are in the vicinity of someone coughing (less than two minutes); the related recommendation is frequent and thorough hand washing (soap and water for 20 seconds) or use of hand sanitizers, as well as using Clorox or other disinfectants on any surfaces you might touch. For the Boathouse, this means frequent wiping down of door handles, sink handles, erg handles, weight equipment, etc. Rowers should routinely wipe down ergs BEFORE, and AFTER erging!! Rowers should also try to NOT touch their mouth, nose or eyes. CRF has implemented stricter/more frequent cleaning of door handles, countertops, ergs and weight equipment. CRF is additionally requiring that doors be opened to provide cross ventilation during use of the ergs and weightlifting equipment.
Also, logically, if any rower feels sick, or has a cough, or a fever, or shortness of breath, they should NOT come to the boathouse, but should ‘self-quarantine’ at home until symptoms have resolved. Don’t put your teammates at risk! Kirk Lang has the authority to ask anyone who comes to the boathouse and is visibly sick, to leave.
It appears that people at greatest risk for severe illness includes older adults (over age 60) and those with underlying health conditions. Infection in healthy children and teenagers has been rare and the vast majority of cases have been mild. The concern, beyond direct exposure of ‘at risk’ individuals, is the risk that many people will be exposed to the virus via contact with infected, but asymptomatic individuals, and become ‘vectors’ who may transmit the virus unwittingly to others, including those at higher risk of severe illness or death. Thus, the restriction of large group gatherings, including cancellation of the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade (not only in Cleveland, but across the entire USA) and the Cleveland International Film Festival.
CRF will keep Member Organizations apprised of further developments, guidelines, restrictions, etc. on an ongoing basis. It is conceivable that the boathouse may be forced to close as this crisis evolves, but that is not something contemplated at this time. Stay tuned and stay informed!!
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