NEW LAWS AND GUIDANCE FOR SOCIAL DISTANCING (AND HOW IT AFFECTS CHEERLEADING), FOLLOWING THE UK GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENT ON THE 22ND SEPTEMBER 2020 (1st October 2020)
Since the 22nd September announcement by the UK government, SportCheer England have been seeking further clarification from Sport England regarding how the various sport and exercise exemptions apply to Cheerleading in England. We have spoken at length with Sport England regarding our classification as a sport, and also whether they can assist us in requesting the DCMS progress the assessment of our RTP Guidance Document (which if approved would provide further exemptions).
While Cheerleading has not undergone Sport England’s formal recognition process, we are still considered by them to be a sport, and therefore subsequently been advised that Cheerleading should follow the government guidelines and legal framework as it pertains to sport.
Therefore, the following currently apply to indoor sport without an approved RTP Guidance Document (01/10/2020):
Under 18’s can continue socially distanced as they were under the previous guidelines. We advise clubs refer to the SportCheer England RTP Guidance Document for assistance on how to assess your space for social distancing and ensuring your gym is Covid safe.
If you are currently only delivering conditioning activities or All Star Dance classes, where athletes move no more throughout a class than a regular exercise class would (such as aerobics), and social distancing can be maintained throughout, then adult (over 18) classes can continue under the exercise class guidance provided by the government.
Adults (over 18) can still participate in indoor sport (anything more than the activity as defined above, such as synchro tumbling or rotating to use equipment) in groups of 6. Adults in the groups of 6 must continue to remain socially distanced from each other within their group. See “Can close-contact and combat sports return?” for more information.
Coaches and officials are exempt from the group numbers but must continue to instruct socially distanced.
If your space is large enough that groups of 6 can remain effectively socially distanced from other groups (including entering and exiting the building), then we have been advised you may have multiple groups of 6 in the space.
For details on organising adult groups please see the Sport England FAQ’s under the heading “Are governing bodies required to have their return to play guidance reviewed to cover indoor sport for six or fewer adults?”
For mixed teams where over and under 18’s usually train together on the same team, guidance can be found in this link under “Can adults mix with youth/junior groups when taking part in indoor team sports to create a group of more than six? E.g. four adults and four children equals eight in total, but only four adults”
We have asked Sport England for more clarity on mixed teams, and understand they are working to potentially add more information.
Disabled adults are exempt from the new Rule of 6 while participating in sports, but non-disabled people participating with them are not. Therefore, Adaptive Abilities and Special Athlete teams where non-disabled athletes and disabled athletes participate together, the socially distanced rule of 6 must be applied. We are currently seeking further clarification from Sport England on this with regards to the rules for disabled athletes under 18, and also whether either age group are allowed to operate in mixed (disabled / non disabled athlete class) within the exercise class model.
RTP Guidance Document update:
Since our public statement on the 9th September letting coaches know we had been told to expect an update from the DCMS soon, we have frustratingly heard nothing further. We appreciate this situation is extremely stressful for coaches and have been regularly calling and emailing throughout this period with both the DCMS and Sport England to try and understand the cause of the delay. We continue to work on your behalf to resolve the situation, but until such time, please use the Sport England website to assist you with the current guidelines.
NEW LEGAL REQUIREMENT FOR CHEERLEADING CLUB VENUES TO DISPLAY QR CODE POSTERS (23rd September 2020, 2:05pm)
The UK Government have announced that from Thursday the 24th September 2020, all venues in England will be required by law to display the official NHS QR code poster ahead of the new NHS COVID-19 app being launched.
Cheerleading clubs with their own premises will need to visit the government coronavirus guidance website to register and create a specific NHS QR code poster for your facility.
Local authorities have the power to impose a fine for noncompliance.
While we understand it is the responsibility of the venue operator to display the QR Code, we highly recommend clubs who hire their venue to speak with their operator regarding this.
There is currently no legal requirement for athletes, parents or staff to use the QR system, and we advise that clubs continue to keep their own track and trace logs in addition to displaying the code.
Other Coronavirus information and resources such as Risk Assessment templates can be found on the SportCheer England Coronavirus Hub.
LATEST GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENT – HOW DOES IT IMPACT CHEERLEADING? – UPDATE (11th September 2020, 12:40pm)
We are pleased to announce that SportCheer England has received further clarification directly from Sport England which confirms that our statement, made on 9th September, was correct.
To reiterate, team sports can continue socially distanced with athletes, coaches and staff no closer than 2 meters to each other. Cheerleading clubs may find the guidance in the SCE RTP document helpful when calculating maximum numbers of athletes for their sessions (https://sportcheerengland.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/SportCheer-England-Return-to-Play-Guidance-Document-19.07.2020-V2.pdf).
Sport England have confirmed that sports wishing to continue with any level of contact closer than 2 meters, are required to wait for approval of their RTP Guidance (based on the Team Sport Framework) from the DCMS. This means that Cheerleading teams should not be stunting or undertaking any activities closer than 2 meters apart until such time that approval from DCMS is received. Again, we await further news on this and will update you as soon as we have more information.
We recommend that clubs follow the guidelines laid out in the SCE RTP Guidance Document requiring risk assessment and compliance for levels A-D (Levels E, F & G are prohibited at this time), as well as contacting their insurance provider to make sure they are covered.
We will try to address further, more specific questions in our soon to be released FAQ document.
Cheerleading clubs may also find the following information helpful:
Recently released FAQs from Government, in particular 2.10 which details that organised indoor sports can continue to follow the gyms/leisure centre guidance for activity as this provides covid secure environments – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do
Further guidance regarding numbers of people allowed in an indoor setting whilst ensuring safe conditions – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/providers-of-grassroots-sport-and-gym-leisure-facilities#section-6-4
LATEST GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENT – HOW DOES IT IMPACT CHEERLEADING? (9th SEPTEMBER 2020, 09:50pm)
This afternoon the government announced new laws and measures to come into place on Monday 14th September 2020, to slow the rising number of covid cases. This included restrictions on the size of gatherings both indoors and outdoors. It did however note that “organised team sports in a covid-secure way” were exempt.
Following clarification from Sport England this evening (https://www.sportengland.org/how-we-can-help/coronavirus/return-play) our guidance for Cheerleading is as follows:
Team sports can continue socially distanced (athletes, coaches and staff no closer than 2m to each other), which will exclude stunting from allowed skills.
Sports wishing to continue with any level of contact closer than 2m are required to wait for approval of their RTP Guidance (based on the Team Sport Framework) from the DCMS. As you are likely aware, SCE submitted the Cheerleading RTP on the 19th July 2020.
Following the delay in the assessment of our application, we have now been told to expect an email from the DCMS regarding our document’s status. We await this and will update you as soon as we have news.
We recommend you follow the guidelines laid out in the RTP Guidance Document requiring risk assessment and compliance for levels A-D (Levels E, F & G are prohibited at this time), as well as contacting your insurance provider to make sure you are covered.
We would also like to remind programmes that prior to approval of our DCMS application being confirmed, it is against the law from Monday to stunt or undertake any activities closer than 2m apart.
We will try to address further, more specific questions in our soon to be released FAQ document.
SPORTCHEER ENGLAND PUBLIC STATEMENT (4th SEPTEMBER 2020, 12:40pm)
Please see the following statement issued by SportCheer England on 4th September 2020 regarding the SportCheer England Return to Play Guidance Document: Public Statement 4th September 2020
SPORTCHEER ENGLAND RETURN TO PLAY GUIDANCE DOCUMENT (20th JULY 2020, 10:20am)
Please note: In accordance with the government’s requirement for sporting National Governing Bodies, this document is currently under review by the DCMS: SportCheer England Return to Play Guidance Document 19.07.2020 V2
LATEST SPORTCHEER ENGLAND ANNOUNCEMENT (11th JULY 2020, 12:10pm)
WHAT HAS TO HAPPEN NOW?
The government’s latest guidance on the return to indoor sport, included a clear series of steps that must now be taken:
- National Governing Bodies (NGBs) must submit to the DCMS (Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) a thorough “roadmap”, outlining in rigorous detail the risk management at every stage of their intended phased return to sport.
- Government must give approval to the plan.
- Sports must wait until their National Governing Bodies have received approval from the DCMS. NGBs will then issue clubs an approved date of return and the full roadmap, detailing their responsibility at each phase.
- Sports can reopen, in line with the roadmap.
WHAT STAGE IS CHEERLEADING AT?
Upon receiving these instructions on the 9th July, SportCheer England have taken the following steps:
- Discussed the requirements with the ICU (our international governing body) and sought their support.
- Begun conversations with other NGBs to establish best practices in drafting such a roadmap
- Begun in earnest to draft a robust roadmap that will meet government requirements.
So far only 2 NGBs that we are aware of have submitted plans: Cricket (approved) and Basketball (pending).
We know how critical to gym owners and coaches timescales are in this process, and are working at breakneck speed to create a submission for the DCMS. However, in order to gain approval, this roadmap must be thorough, and will require things like input from medical, legal and insurance experts; so while we are working as fast as we can, we would also kindly ask for your patience and support over the next week, in undertaking this task. We will be unable to add any further clarity to our current statement until the roadmap document has been submitted and approved by the DCMS.
NEW GUIDANCE ON THE REOPENING OF CHEERLEADING GYMS IN ENGLAND (9th JULY 2020, 11:55am)
After careful consideration of the Government Guidance Protective measures for out-of-school-settings during Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak published on July 1st 2020, SportCheer England are pleased to support the reopening of Cheerleading and Dance clubs and gyms from the end of the 2020 Summer Term, providing that programmes are able to adhere to the required restrictions.
Programme owners and coaches are urged to ensure that they have read carefully through all the related government and Sport England guidance in full, and are satisfied that they can comply with the guidelines and legal requirements set out by the government and their insurance provider.
All clubs should ensure that they have effective infection protection and control measures in place specific to their setting to reduce the risk of transmission. Each programme should also consider first aid and safeguarding responsibilities when planning staffing, which in turn may have an impact on class sizes offered (for example if you require more than two staff members to fulfil these roles you should consider reducing the class size down from 15).
Please note that government guidance for a return to indoor sport states that in reopening, you must comply with the following ratios: No more than 15 children in consistent bubbles with at least one staff member. Please remember that social distancing is still advised, and that where possible we suggest this should remain at 2 meters.
You can find the direct link to the government guidance on class sizes here: tinyurl.com/yc2n63vj
It is also a requirement that programmes implement a Track and Trace system. You will need to keep registers and ensure you have up-to-date contact details for anyone attending your setting. In the event of a report of someone experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19 you will need to advise anyone who had contact with that person so that they can self isolate. In this instance the facility will need to be deep cleaned and would only be able to reopen if it can do so with staff and athletes who did not come into contact with the person experiencing symptoms.
You can find a link to the legal risks and duties of care on the return to sport here: tinyurl.com/y84uvj5v
In addition to the links provided in this statement, we recommend you visit the SportCheer England Coronavirus Hub (www.sportcheerengland.org/coronavirus-hub), where you can download Cheer specific Risk Assessment documents and watch webinars to help you think carefully through your plan for reopening.
Programme owners and coaches are reminded that new information may be released without notification so they should check regularly to ensure that they are following the most up-to-date guidance.
Coaches and programme owners should also direct parents and carers to the following guidance prior to reopening in an indoor setting: tinyurl.com/y9ft2k2j
LETTER TO GOVERNMENT (25th June 2020, 2:10pm)
In response to the latest government announcement regarding the phased return of sport (23rd June 2020), SportCheer England have written to Oliver Dowden (Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport), Jo Stevens (Shadow Secretary for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) and Tim Hollingsworth (Chief Executive at Sport England) to express our concern over the exclusion of indoor sport in the government’s current considerations, and to advocate on behalf of the hundreds of Cheerleading athletes, coaches and gym owners in our country who remain adversely affected. You can read a full copy of the letter sent here.
ANNOUNCEMENT OF FREE WEBINAR (6th June 2020, 7:30pm)
In conversation with Kimberley Ramsay on opening your gym after Coronavirus: in this webinar, taking place on Thursday 11th June at 8:30pm, Kimberley will talk about the various measures her company took in reopening their cheer gyms, following the lifting of the lockdown in New Zealand. Visit the SportCheer England Coronavirus Information Hub for details and to book.
SPORTCHEER ENGLAND GUIDANCE REGARDING THE LATEST GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCEMENT ON A RETURN TO SPORT (3rd June 2020, 12:25pm)
On the 1st of June the UK government announced new guidelines and measures regarding the lifting of lockdown across England, and a phased return to sport. The SportCheer England Coronavirus Information Hub has been updated to include the latest guidance plus two FREE template Risk Assessment documents.
SPORTCHEER ENGLAND COVID-19 (Coronavirus) UPDATE STATEMENT (16th May 2020, 6:30pm GMT)
During these challenging and unprecedented times, SportCheer England are committed to supporting coaches and gym owners. We will release guidance on returning to Cheerleading and gyms, but only when the government explicitly advises that it is safe to do so.
You can access the government advice and many other resources on our Coronavirus Information Hub: https://sportcheerengland.org/coronavirus-hub
We would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that the current government ‘back to work’ guidelines* only apply to those in essential retail, and that returning to sport is limited to outdoor courts (tennis, golf, basketball etc) alone, with members of your household, or with one other person from outside your household, while practicing social distancing. While we appreciate it is frustrating, it is clear at this present time that the government guidance does not include a return to cheerleading or cheerleading gyms.
SPORTCHEER ENGLAND CORONAVIRUS INFORMATION HUB (13th May 2020, 4:20pm)
The SportCheer England Coronavirus Information Hub is now available.
FINANCIAL SUPPORT DURING COVID-19 (10th April 2020, 12:25pm)
The following information is now available on the Financial Support during COVID-19 page:
- A recording of the SportCheer England & Scrutton Bland financial advice webinar and a document containing Q&A.
- An update on Sport England funding.
STRONGER TOGETHER (3rd April 2020 5:00pm)
At this difficult time, SportCheerUK wanted to send a message of support to cheerleaders and coaches everywhere across the UK.
We truly believe that as a sport, we are #StrongerTogether, and to demonstrate this, SportCheerUK (comprising SportCheer England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) and many of the UK’s competition event providers, have come together to create this sharable graphic.
Please share, repost and retweet this image on your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, make it your profile or banner, and let’s all show the world that Cheerleading has the power to bring people together. Post it using the hashtags #StrongerTogether and #UKCheerleadingStrongerTogether and let’s flood the internet with a positive message of solidarity.
SCE COVID-19 (Coronavirus) GUIDANCE FOR CLUBS (20th March 2020 6:45pm GMT)
In an update to the information provided below, please be aware the UK Government has today announced gyms and leisure centres should close as of tonight.
SCE COVID-19 (Coronavirus) GUIDANCE FOR CLUBS (18th March 2020 2:00pm GMT)
We understand that this is a difficult and challenging time for all coaches, athletes and programmes. We hope to offer help and support in any way we can to get us all through this time with minimal impact on our clubs and livelihoods.
As a minimum standard, all clubs must follow and promote UK Government and WHO guidance:
We understand that programmes are working hard to maintain a balance between continuing to be able to provide members with an ongoing service, while bearing in mind possible health implications. There is currently no direct instruction from the government to cease activities, so we understand that some programmes may wish to continue to deliver their scheduled services. If you do choose to continue delivery, please ensure you are following the most current government guidelines, and are keeping up to date regarding any new instructions.
In the event of closure of your gym, please do the following:
- Notify parents/athletes of your plans in a timely and comprehensive manner.
- Ascertain if you still require to take fees, or a reduced fee, and if so, what service you will provide in return.
- Cancel/reduce all your overheads where possible by following guidance.
- If revenue derived from your club is your main source of income, please check what support you are entitled to via government sources at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-employees-employers-and-businesses
For gyms who hire their facility hourly:
- Aim to cancel your booking within the given notice period as per your contract. If you have pre-paid an organisation for hire this may be carried forward to when you resume your activities. Get confirmation in writing if this is the case.
For those of you who have your own premises:
- RATES: Following the government announcement on March 17th 2020, some premises may be eligible for a rate ‘holiday’. Contact your local council for more information.
- RENT: Email your landlord. Explain your situation, the decision you wish to make and your rationale for it. Request a rent break until you are able to resume classes. Emphasise that this will be required to keep your business afloat. Get any agreements in writing.
- LOANS: Should you have any bank loans, contact your bank directly and ask for a suspension on payments until business resumes as usual. Make sure that you discuss with them how this may affect you going forward, including any potential impact on your credit rating.At this time, information regarding how to apply for the newly announced government loans for small businesses has not been set out; this is something we will share when it is available.
- UTILITIES: If you are not using your utilities, you should not incur any costs although some service charges may still be applicable. Contact your service providers and let them know you have vacated your premise temporarily and collect/provide them with accurate readings when you stop and resume business.
Please check with your own insurance company if you can have payments suspended, even if it means making these up on the resumption of regular classes. This applies to building and contents insurance as well as coach and athlete cover/public liability.
Check your policy to see if you are covered for business disruption.
If you plan to provide virtual classes or videos for your athletes, please ensure that you have checked with your insurance provider that you are adequately covered and if you need any additional waivers in place for your policy to remain valid.
BEFORE RESUMING YOUR REGULAR CLASSES, PLEASE ENSURE:
- You have suitably notified all of your members.
- You have ensured a thorough, deep clean of all your equipment and facilities.
- You have notified your service providers and resumed payment plans as required.
SCE COVID-19 (Coronavirus) UPDATE (16th March 2020 9:55am GMT)
- International Cheer Union ICU World Championships Week Update
- USASF/IASF Health & Safety Update
- The Summit Championships Health & Safety Update
Following today’s announcements from the ICU, IASF & Varsity, please see the below statement from SportCheer England.
We appreciate that these announcements may cause upset and panic, as coaches, athletes and spectators process what the news means for them in terms of travel arrangements, refunds and the potential rescheduling of competitions. In light of this we would suggest the following:
Athletes and Parents
- We appreciate that you may be anxious and seeking answers but we would encourage you to allow your coach time to prepare accurate information for your team.
- If you have individually purchased travel and accommodation (as opposed to a group booking) you may wish to contact your travel advisor/insurer to discuss your options.
Athletes due to compete at these events
- Your manager / programme coach will be in touch with you accordingly to share any further information regarding the postponement of these competitions.
Coaches of ICU Worlds, IASF Worlds and Summit teams
- If you are a coach in need of support or assistance, please reach out to SportCheer England. Initially we ask that you do this via the regional Facebook groups and reps, but you can also contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
- We are sure that the ICU, IASF & Varsity are working hard to get the answers to all your questions regarding the postponement, refunds and all the many variables that come with this decision and that they will release some more information when they can. We would encourage you to be patient as they navigate this.
We understand that this is an extremely anxious time for everyone in the sport, for many reasons, and the health and safety of athletes, coaches and spectators is of paramount importance to all.
Please check your email, our SportCheer England Facebook groups and SportCheer England social media for the latest updates:
SCE COVID-19 (Coronavirus) UPDATE (12th March 2020 9:05pm GMT)
Following the government’s update this afternoon, please find SportCheer England’s updated statement below, regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
We understand that you may be concerned about the risk of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and the potential impact on training, UK competitions, IASF and ICU World Cheerleading Championships. We hope that the following information will be helpful to you and encourage you to share it with members of your program.
Currently in England there is no mandate for schools and colleges to close, therefore it is assumed most other daily activities such as Cheerleading teams and classes will continue as usual. With this in mind, we recommend you undertake a specific Risk Assessment for your gym and teams, including:
- Regularly sanitizing all equipment, surfaces, toilet facilities, etc
- Requesting any athletes who display any symptoms or who are ill do not attend
- Action plan in place for any athlete or coach who presents to you with the symptoms (including identifying somewhere to isolate them until medical assistance can be reached)
- Parent drop off and pick up at the door to reduce risk
- No sharing of water bottles, food, props, etc
- Regular hand washing
Competitions in England
Whilst the UK has now been moved from Containment to Delay phase, today’s government announcement stated that they do not believe the risk to individuals is increased at sporting events or other mass gatherings, and are currently not imposing a ban on events of any size in England. At this time, the event providers we have spoken to intend to go ahead as planned with competitions and are being guided by government advice. For information regarding a particular competition you are attending, please visit the EP’s website and/or social media where you will find specific updates relating to their events.
IASF Update for teams with club Worlds and Summit bids
At present we are informed the IASF Worlds and Summit will be going ahead as planned and are working closely with US officials and Disney to continuously monitor the situation. If you are a coach with a Worlds or Summit bid, we recommend you stay up to date on the IASF Facebook group: www.facebook.com/groups/IASFworlds/ and in communication with your bid-awarding EP, who will be able to offer the latest information. We expect a further update from IASF in the next 24hrs.
ICU World Cheerleading Championships
At present we are informed the ICU World Cheerleading Championships will be going ahead as planned and are working closely with US officials and Disney to continuously monitor the situation. SportCheer England have been in regular communication with the ICU and Team England management since the Coronavirus news broke. If you are on a national team, we ask that in the first instance you refer to your team manager for any updates. We have heard from the ICU today and expect a further update from them in the next 24hrs.
If you are a coach in need of support or assistance, please reach out to SportCheer England. Initially we ask that you do this via the regional Facebook groups and reps, but you can also contact us directly at email@example.com
We understand that this is an extremely anxious time for everyone in the sport, for many reasons, and the health and safety of athletes, coaches and spectators is of paramount importance to all.
Please check your email, our SportCheer England Facebook groups and SportCheer England social media for our latest updates. We expect information may change again in the next few days and will do our best to update you in real time.
SCE COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Information (5th March 2020)
We understand that you may be concerned about the risk of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and that many of you have been receiving questions from worried parents regarding training and attending competitions. We hope that the following information will be helpful to you and encourage you to share it with members of your program.
Whilst the UK risk level of Coronavirus has been increased from low to moderate, the risk to individuals has not changed at this stage and remains low. We advise that you stay up to date with any developments and continue to follow advice from the World Health Organisation and Public Health England, as well as that of Local Government.
We recommend that individuals maintain good hand, respiratory and personal hygiene for example – using hand sanitiser and/or regularly washing hands with soap and water and using tissues when coughing and sneezing (which is then disposed of in the bin).
You may also find the information found in the link below helpful: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/869250/Coronavirus_advice_for_educational_settings_poster.pdf
If you have concerns about a particular competition that you are due to attend we recommend that you contact the EP running the event, however SCE are not currently aware of any plans for competitions in either the U.K. or internationally to be cancelled at this time
The following COV-19 template statement is available for coaches to download and amend for use in their programmes: COVID19 Team Template March 2020