On Tuesday, May 5th, USA Volleyball delivered a message via the USA Volleyball Response On Corona page, announcing the extension of the elimination of sanctions for all USA Volleyball activities until May 22nd. Originally scheduled to be re-sanctioned May 8th, The new potential date for USAV insured practice and play to restart comes just nine days before the Lone Star Classic (May 30-June 1), the first of the final five qualifiers that have yet to be cancelled.
The Message from USAV and the ‘return to play’ task force can be read below:
As referenced in our communication on April 24, a “return to play” task force was established by USA Volleyball to create a comprehensive roadmap to safely restart USAV’s sanctioning of activities when it is appropriate. The task force has been meeting diligently and gathering information from United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC), medical experts, government entities, volleyball clubs and other national governing bodies to help pave our course of action. At this point, the group believes that it is premature to safely commence play and thus USA Volleyball is extending the elimination of sanctions for all USA Volleyball activities (including but not limited to events, practices, team activities, individual training sessions or anything covered by USA Volleyball insurance) through May 22, 2020.
Virtual training/coaching/instruction/meetings are permitted during this period of sanction suspension. Any virtual training/coaching/instruction/meetings involving minors are subject to requirements of MAAPP, specifically the regulations on electronic communications and one-on-one interactions. These requirements include the following:
- All virtual trainings/coaching/meetings must be “observable and interruptible,” able to be ended at any time, and have at least two applicable adults on each session, i.e., coach and assistant, coach and club director, etc.
- All parents/guardians must be provided the code or link to join the virtual session.
- All parents/guardians must sign a waiver in advance as these sessions could be viewed as individual training. A record of which clubs/coaches have been approved to conduct these sessions should be kept. USAV has created a standardized waiver form if you care to use it.
- If a minor athlete ends up emailing a video to a coach for feedback or additional coaching, the coach needs to copy the parent/guardian and/or other applicable adult on all correspondences.
To be clear, virtual training/coaching/instruction/meetings will only be considered sanctioned so long as the above requirements are followed.
USA Volleyball has been asked by local clubs whether such ban applies to club activities covered under the club’s own (non-USA Volleyball) insurance. In these situations, USA Volleyball strongly encourages all member clubs and coaches to adhere to USA Volleyball’s policies. However, should a club decide to voluntarily disregard those policies and assume all risks associated therewith, we recommend that the club adhere to CDC; local, state and federal guidelines and recommendations when deciding whether or not to host practices or individual training sessions. If a club does host practice or individual training sessions, those activities would be considered a non-sanctioned activity by USA Volleyball and thus NOT covered by USA Volleyball insurance.
The health and welfare of our membership, volleyball families and fellow citizens is our primary concern in all decisions we are making during these uncharted times.
USA Volleyball is monitoring the situation daily and will continue to provide updates on a regular basis.
So what does this mean? Well, without speculation or guessing, it leaves less time for those participating in the impending qualifiers to get in the gym as a team and prepare for competition. Which, at this point, is the best-case scenario. Whether those qualifiers will happen is up to the states and the timeline in which they will begin to reopen. Everything else will have to come after, including whether parents or club directors will want to send their children, players, and teams to compete, should the qualifiers take place.
For now, players have to keep loving the game, learning and improving any way they can. We’ve seen the amazing things that players can do given minimal space, equipment, and interaction. We’ve also seen clubs, coaches, and directors overcome social distancing through innovation and creativity, embrace virtual training, and push the boundaries of what it means to be a coach. Our community is strong and will only get stronger with every new challenge ahead. This is volleyball. It’s what we do.