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ASAA latest update - September 9 Memo: Cohorts, Competition, and Membership Fees

By ASAA Executive Director John Paton and ASAA Executive Committee, 09/09/20, 11:00PM MDT

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As of Sept 9, 2020, the ASAA will permit students/schools to engage in competitions during the current season of play.

As you can imagine, there have been a wide range of questions being fielded by the ASAA staff at this time. Both the staff and Executive Committee have been actively communicating with each other and stakeholders at many levels both within and outside the Government of Alberta (GOA) throughout the summer; this work continues on behalf of member schools. There are two issues the Executive wishes to address at this time.

Membership fees: Although the ASAA is experiencing reduced revenues at this time, there will be no change to ASAA membership fees for the 2020/21 school year. The Executive feels it is critical for the Association to be fully operational in order to best serve its member schools and to be able to pivot to full athletic activity when permitted by the Government of Alberta; it does not want to make decisions that would impede the ability of the Association to fully serve its member schools. Further, the Executive reminds member schools that there are many aspects outside of coordinating high school provincial championships e.g. coach education, AD education, student leadership opportunities, Unified Sports, transfers and much more that need to be kept operational to best serve member schools.

Please note however, that the Executive Committee is prepared to revisit the matter of membership fees in the spring/summer of 2021. Depending on what happens over the next six to ten months in relation to COVID-19 and ASAA Championships, if the Association ends its fiscal year (Aug 31 year-end) with a surplus, those surplus funds will be either refunded to schools to partially cover 2020/21 membership fees on a prorated basis or will be subtracted from fees payable for 2021/22, also on a prorated basis. 

Competition during the current season of play: As of Sept 9, 2020, the ASAA will permit students/schools to engage in competitions during the current season of play. All schools and Zones must follow ASAA “Seasons of Play” and the “Participation on a non-school team” policy, gain permission from their jurisdiction superintendent and school principal, and any competition must follow GOA Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation (SPAR) guidelines which are available here: https://www.alberta.ca/assets/documents/covid-19-relaunch-sports-physical-activityand-recreation.pdf

In addition to the above document, the GOA has also released a document titled “Guidance for Cohorts” that schools should review: https://www.alberta.ca/assets/documents/covid-19-relaunch-guidance-cohorts.pdf

First and foremost, decisions made at the school jurisdiction level that are more restrictive than those of the ASAA must be adhered to. Some of the key aspects of the ASAA Executive Committee decision regarding Mini-Leagues and Cohorts are as follows:

• ASAA’s “Participation on a non-school team” policy is still in effect i.e. a student cannot be on a school and a non-school team in the same sport at the same time.

• Schools may still form a joint school team as is usually permitted in ASAA policy.

• While the GOA SPAR document says “Individuals should limit the number of Cohorts/Mini-Leagues to which they belong”, there is no further information to confirm exactly how to interpret this. It must be the decision of a family whether or not to have their child involved in more than one sport cohort (school and/or community) after they have weighed the risks of doing so; ASAA will not prohibit student athletes from being on a school team and a non-school team in a different sport or activity at the same time. However, school jurisdiction policies might be more restrictive and must be adhered to, and it is up to families to be aware of any such restrictions.

• Travel: Where 2 metre physical distancing between individuals is maintained or the Mini-League model is employed, travel for sport, physical and recreational activities is allowed.

• The maximum number of individuals that can form a cohort is 50. The 50- person maximum includes any coaches/staff, instructors, participants, officials, and volunteers who consistently and routinely engage with participants at a distance of less than 2 metres. 

• Coaches, staff and officials who primarily interact with individuals or teams at a distance of 2 metres or greater do not need to be counted as part of the cohort. These individuals are required to wear a mask and perform proper hand hygiene if it becomes necessary to temporarily interact with cohorting participants at a distance of less than 2 metres

• If a person moves from one school sport or community sport Cohort or MiniLeague to another, they must sit out 14 days before participating in any sporting activity as per current AHS Guidelines.

The GOA SPAR document linked above says the following about masks (page 5):

• Participants can wear masks when they are not engaging in intense physical activity.

• Masks should not be worn during intense physical activity.

- Masks and face shields cannot be assured to stay in place.

-There is some evidence to suggest that wearing a mask during high intensity activity could have negative health effects.

While ASAA is attempting to stay current on GOA and AHS updates and will inform member schools of any changes to cohorts or sport requirements, it is the responsibility of member schools to also make every effort to stay current on Return to Sport and Physical Activity Guidelines and Cohort Guidelines at Alberta Biz Connect: https://www.alberta.ca/biz-connect.aspx

If you have questions or require further clarification, please contact the ASAA office 780-427-8182 or info@asaa.ca and your question will be directed to the appropriate person.