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COVID-19 Protocol for the 2020-21 Ski Season

As of Fall 2020, the GTSC is planning to run all normal ski programming with minor modifications.  Hickory Hills ski area is planning to be open as usual.  Below are modifications, requirements, and new protocol planned to be implemented for the season.  All of these are fluid and subject to change as our understanding of COVID-19 deepens and current information, science, data and CDC and State recommendations change.  We are putting the safety of our GTSC family first and ask for your patience, understanding, and compliance.

GTSC Covid-19 Expectations


Covid-19 Daily Screening Tool 
*Participants (or parents of) will be expected to complete the GTSC self assessment daily screening tool prior to attending GTSC programs/events
*Parents and volunteers will be expected to complete the GTSC self assessment daily screening tool prior to attending GTSC programs/events

Face Coverings 
*All GTSC participants and families will be required to wear face coverings at all times and socially distance whenever possible to be compliant with Michigan Department of Health and Human Services recommendations for outdoor youth sports.

Hickory Hills Lodge Access
*The lodge will be very restricted use and have reduced capacity.
*Participants should arrive at Hickory Hills with all gear on and be ready to attend clinics.  The lodge should not be used for putting on gear. 
*There will be no bag storage/limited storage, nor congregating, in the lodge this year to allow for proper social distancing.
*The City is currently installing 2 outdoor fire pits and all the Clinch Park outdoor furniture will be set up outside the lodge at Hickory Hills to encourage participants/users to stay outside lodge.
*Restrooms will be open for use – face coverings required to use.
*There will not be community food at any GTSC events/races this year.
*Food service will NOT be open at the lodge.


Programming 
*We do not anticipate any change in allowable participants in GTSC programs due to Covid-19.  We are currently within guidelines for participant size
*Participants will be taught expectations on the first day/night (and all week) of clinics/programs to ensure all understand distancing on tow ropes/at top of hill/etc. to avoid crowding

* Spectators will be allowed as state guidelines permit.  All spectators must be socially distanced and wear face coverings.


Race Day Participants  and Spectators
*All GTSC races will be subject to above guidelines and safety measures.
*All race results will be posted to the website and available online – no physical scoreboard will be maintained in order to avoid crowding.
*Unfortunately, we will not host awards this season to avoid crowding.  We will be in touch as decisions are made on award pickups, etc.
*No potluck/shared food at any GTSC event this year.

*Race spectators will be allowed as state guidelines permit.  All attendees must be socially distanced and wear face coverings. 
*The lodge will have very limited use. 

COVID POLICY UPDATE as of 3/10/21

Recent data has become available regarding students who must quarantine due to a COVID exposure at school that is invoking some changes to the GTSC quarantine policy.   Please note that as the pandemic continues and more information is known, policies and recommendations should be continually re-evaluated and are subject to change, such as in this instance.   Based on new data, the following are GTSC’s recommendations for quarantined athletes in response to COVID exposure.   These recommendations are consistent with guidelines from the WHO, CDC, Grand Traverse County Michigan Dept of HHS and our local data from the TCAPS system.  The revision to our GTSC COVID protocol has also been cleared by our USSS COVID Coordinator (a practicing M.D.) – in an email and phone call today.  Meaning our decision will be supported by USSS – please see ACTION ITEMS at bottom of this email if applicable to your situation.

 

Current guidelines always defer to the local health department; which currently recommends 14 day quarantine for any COVID exposure.   However, this policy has not been updated in response to data collection and analysis efforts from the scientific community studying COVID, likely due to capacity issues within the organization that prohibit the time and energy needed to do so.  An example of this data is included in the public announcement from TCAPS yesterday morning sharing that, since the start of the pandemic, there has not been a single case of school related COVID spread.  This data includes all students who were quarantined from a school related exposure.   All positive COVID cases are from out of school gatherings or exposures.  Based on this new data, we feel our Club guidelines should be consistent with this information and updated accordingly.     

 

The CDC quarantine option guidelines can be found via this link (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/quarantine.html) and the following GTSC protocol remain consistent with the CDC guidelines.   

 

1.   If a skier is being quarantined for an IN SCHOOL exposure, he/she will be able to test out of quarantine, for skiing purposes, on day 8 after exposure with a negative COVID test.   The test must be from day five, or later, after exposure and the skier must exhibit no symptoms on day 7 to participate.  

  • Rationale:
    • There have been no reported cases of students contracting COVID from an IN SCHOOL exposure as they continue to practice social distancing and mask wearing in school.
    • Our sport is naturally a sport where athletes are distanced, outdoors and masked so risk to others on the mountain is very low.
    • Above policy is still consistent with current CDC guidelines.

 

2.  If a skier is being quarantined for an OUTSIDE of school exposure (I.e. sleep over, gathering, party, sporting events) 10 day quarantine is recommended and if skier remains asymptomatic by day 11, he/she can return to practice/competition on day 11.  No test is required.  

  • Rationale:
    • These exposures are higher risk, less social distancing and masking occurs and these types of exposures are where spread is occurring. 
    • Above policy is still consistent with current CDC guidelines.

 

3.   If a skier is being quarantined for a member of his/her HOUSEHOLD exposure (high risk exposure), 14 day quarantine, no symptoms, no test required.   Skier can return on day 15.  

  • Rationale:
    • These exposures are some of the highest risk due to casual and frequent unmasked exposures in our own homes.
    • Policy is consistent with CDC guidelines.

 

Potential ACTION ITEMS:

Please note – Options #1 and #2 above do potentially require USSS participants to check a box on the COVID questionnaire.  The COVID Coordinator has indicated all USSS athletes are to be 100% truthful in this response.  However, if you have followed either of these protocols above to the letter – please check the box accordingly and WRITE IN: ‘Quarantine protocol approved per COVID Coordinator.’    

 

Again, the GTSC board continually reviews the status of local spread, the most updated guidelines and is revising our recommendations to be consistent with the ever changing science.  

 Please do not hesitate to reach out to Adrienne Edgren, MD , Board Treasurer, at Adrienneedgren@gmail.com if you have further questions. 

 Sincerely,

GTSC Board

Grand Traverse Ski Club

PO Box 5157
Traverse City, MI   49685