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MCSL Practice FAQs

  1. Why did MCSL decide to establish COVID-19 protocols for MCSL team practice sessions?

    1. 1.1.  MCSL was acutely aware of the challenges that both the league and member teams would face in developing a plan that would allow for the “safe” return to competitive swimming this season. To that end, MCSL, in conjunction with the MOCO Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), wanted to take every step possible to assist our member teams with establishing a set of practice protocols that would, to the extent possible, mitigate the risks associated with operating during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    2. 1.2.  The Board believed it was important to establish a set of practice protocols that all member teams agreed to abide by. If you want to do more feel free!

    3. 1.3.  Also, in order to increase the number of athletes that could participate in a practice session, while mitigating the associated risks, the Board felt it was important to develop a set of practice protocols that would provide DHHS the confidence required to grant permission to expand the number of athletes allowed to participate while practice sets were being conducted. As a result, teams are now allowed to have up to 6 athletes per lane during practice periods when continuous practice sets are being run.

  2. Does the MCSL practice protocol and Letter of Approval granted by DHHS cover all MCSL teams, even if a team decides to not hold swim competition?

2.1. It is our intent to have all 2021 member teams participate in both MCSL practices

and meets. However, if a team has an exceptional circumstance that will not allow the team to participate in meets, the team may request a waiver of the meet commitment from the MCSL Board. The benefits provided MCSL under Letters of Approval granted MCSL by DHHS will only be extended to MCSL member teams that are in good standing with the league during the 2021 season.

3. How do the MCSL COVID-19 practice protocols integrate with existing MOCO COVID- 19 regulations for outdoor pools? Facility capacity? Masking, physical distancing and sharing of equipment and other objects?

  1. 3.1.  Athletes, coaches and assigned volunteers must adhere to all aspects of the

    MCSL COVID-19 Policy and Procedures. Unless specifically addressed within the MCSL practice protocols, MOCO COVID-19 regulations remain in force for outdoor pools.

  2. 3.2.  The number of athletes, coaches and assigned volunteers participating in an MCSL practice will be counted against overall facility capacity limits. For example, if an overall facility’s capacity limit equals 125 people and there are 40 athletes, coaches and assigned volunteers participating in an MCSL practice session, only 85 additional people, including facility staff are allowed within the facility’s enclosed areas.

  3. 3.3.  All practice participants that are not in the pool must be masked at all times and all participants, whether in the pool or not, must maintain a minimum physical distance of 6 ft from any other participant.

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MCSL Practice FAQs

3.4. Athletes, coaches and assigned volunteers must bring their own drinks and equipment (goggles, etc.) which are clearly labelled and may not share with other participants.

4. The MCSL practice protocols only discuss the positioning of 6 athletes per lane for practice sets? Can we have less than 6 athletes per lane? Can we practice Starts and Sprints within the MCSL Practice Area? Can we practice Turns within the MCSL Practice Area?

  1. 4.1.  Before we discuss what can and can’t take place within the area of the pool being utilized for MCSL practices it is important to understand the two basic rules that govern use of the lanes set aside for practice. First, if a lane is being utilized for practice sets (continuous swimming of 25M, 50M or greater distances) no more than 6 athletes may utilize the lane at the same time with positioning defined in the MCSL practice protocols. Second, if a lane is not being utilized for practice sets and, instead, is being utilized for practice of a particular skill, such as Starts and Turns, athletes may be positioned, as needed, but must strictly adhere to minimum physical distancing requirements of 6 ft between themselves and other athletes.

  2. 4.2.  MCSL obtained permission to have “up to” 6 athletes per lane during periods when athletes are performing practice sets. However, if there are either insufficient athletes to fill all six positions or if the team or coach is not comfortable having 6 athletes in a lane during practice sets the coach may utilize less than 6 athletes during practice sessions. However, athletes should be positioned in one of the 6 positions identified in the practice protocol.

  3. 4.3.  Although not addressed in the practice protocols, a protocol for practicing Starts and Sprints was included in MCSL’s meet protocols. This practice format may be used during MCSL practices and can be found in the “Warm-Up Period” section of the meet protocols. It is suggested that this activity take place at the end of practice so as to minimize athlete repositioning during practice and make it easier for athletes to exit the pool on the side where their mask and swim bag are located.

  4. 4.4.  Another area not specifically addressed in MCSL’s practice protocol is if, and how, athletes may practice Turns during an MCSL practice. As long as athletes maintain at least 6 ft of physical distancing between themselves and other athletes Turns may be practiced during practice sessions. As is the case with Starts and Sprints it is suggested that this activity take place at the end of a practice session so as to minimize athlete repositioning and make it easier for athletes to exit the pool on the side where their masks and swim bag are located. An example of how this may be accomplished is as follows: Assuming each of lanes 1 and 2, of a 6-lane pool, have 6 athletes that just completed their last practice set and their coach now wants them to practice Turns. The coach may then have the 6 athletes in lane 2 move to the turn end of lane 2 cross over to lane 1 and take their position behind the 6 athletes that were already in lane 1. Throughout the repositioning all athletes must maintain 6 ft of physical distancing with other athletes. This is similar to the positioning discussed in the

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MCSL Practice FAQs

protocol for practicing Starts and Sprints. After the athletes that were in lane 2 have moved to lane 1, lane 2 will be empty and 12 athletes, 1 on each wall and 10 spread out between them, will be in lane 1. At this point the coach may have up to 2 athletes, 1 at each end, move into lane 2 and practice Turns. Once those athletes have completed their practice Turns, they then return to their position in Lane 1 and the next 2 athletes move into Lane 2 to begin their practice session on Turns. Once the Turn practice session has been completed the athletes shall then return to their originally assigned positions in lanes 1 and 2. Alternatively, coaches could have their athletes stay in their assigned lanes and practice Turns at one end. In this case athletes would need to reposition themselves closer together, while still maintaining physical distancing of at least 6 ft, and no closer than 10 meters from the end of the pool where they will practice their turns. Once they have completed this activity and the athletes practice session is over, they may exit the pool on at the appropriate end where their mask and swim bag are located.

5. What is your guidance regarding which athletes should be allowed to participate in an MCSL Practice session? What about Pre-Team?

  1. 5.1.  MCSL Practice Sessions are intended for athletes that are working toward

    participation in either MCSL “A” or “B” competition (the “Competition Team”). These athletes must also: (a) have the skill and/or endurance to complete a full 25m lap of the pool without assistance; (b) have the ability to maintain required physical spacing during practice sets on a consistent basis; (c) be able to consistently follow MCSL practice protocols; and (d) not require in-water assistance of either a coach or parent throughout the practice.

  2. 5.2.  In a normal season the distinction between Pre-Team and Competition Team athletes may be somewhat blurred but not this season. Until such time as a Pre- Team athlete can consistently adhere to the requirements associated with participation in Competition Team practices they must continue to practice with the Pre-Team.

  3. 5.3.  Since Pre-Team athletes have substantial interaction with coaches and members of the Competition Team it is strongly suggested that teams adopt MCSL’s policy and practice protocols for their Pre-Team. With that said, teams are certainly going to need to be more selective with respect to the number and capabilities of athletes that are allowed to participate in Pre-Team. Under existing MCSL and MOCO regulations physical distancing must be maintained so, unless you obtain approval from DHHS for relaxation of physical distancing guidelines, Pre-Team athletes will need to be able to participate in practice activities without in-water coach or parent interaction.

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MCSL Practice FAQs

  1. How do you define the MCSL Practice Area and what can take place in other areas of our facility?

    1. 6.1.  The MCSL Practice Area is defined as the area of the facility, including pool lanes and contiguous pool deck space, that is being used for an MCSL Practice session. This would include the area around the pool being utilized by coaches and athletes, including the area being used to store athlete’s masks, swim bags and equipment.

    2. 6.2.  As long as the facility has capacity, as defined under MOCO COVID-19 regulations, in excess of the number of coaches, athletes and assigned volunteers participating in an MCSL practice session, the remaining facility space may be used for other activities during MCSL practices as long as these activities do not encroach into the MCSL Practice Area.

  2. Do practice attendees have to complete a health information checklist in advance of each practice session? When does each attendee’s temperature have to be taken in advance of each practice session?

    1. 7.1.  Practice attendees are not required to submit a health information form in

      advance of each MCSL practice. However, MCSL’s COVID Policy, which includes the MCSL practice protocols and has been approved by DHHS, requires that all practice participants comply with the practice attendance criteria referenced in the policy. Additionally, under terms of the MCSL COVID-19 Waiver of Liability which must be executed by each athlete’s parent or responsible party, the parent or responsible party acknowledges and agrees to strict compliance with the attendance criteria. The list of criteria is best summarized in the first section of the of the Meet Protocols which is entitled “Meet Attendance Criteria”. In this case they would be titled “Practice Attendance Criteria”. Any athlete, coach or assigned volunteer that attends an MCSL practice is effectively attesting that they are in compliance with MCSL’s practice attendance criteria.

    2. 7.2.  Temperature checks are required as part of the Practice Attendance Criteria and must be taken at home before the practice attendee travels to the facility for practice.

  3. Do teams have to keep an attendance log that lists all attendees for each practice?

8.1. MCSL teams are not required to keep an attendance log for each practice under

the MCSL COVID Policy and practice protocols that were approved by DHHS. However, knowledge of likely practice participants can be an essential tool in assisting the County with contact tracing. To that end, MCSL teams should make sure team rosters are both accurate and maintained on a timely basis.

9. Does an MCSL Waiver of Liability have to be executed by each MCSL practice attendee before they participate in an MCSL practice session or meet?
9.1. 
The MCSL Waiver of Liability only has to be executed one time, when the athlete

submits their team registration.

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10. Can practice attendees use bathrooms in an emergency?
10.1. 
The simple answer is “of course” as we’re sure you don’t want to deal with the

alternative. With that said, it would be best if attendees were reminded to use facilities at their home before leaving for practice to minimize emergency use of the bathrooms.

11. Is there a set amount of time that has to elapse during breaks between practice groups?

11.1. There is no set time interval for breaks between practice sessions. It simply needs to be long enough for the group exiting practice to clear the MCSL Practice Area before the next group enters.

12. Can a team utilize volunteers to monitor compliance with MCSL’s practice protocols? 12.1. Absolutely. MCSL’s practice protocols allow for an “assigned volunteers” to be in

the MCSL Practice Area during practice sessions. The use of one or two assigned

volunteers for this purpose is advised.

13. Are spectators allowed in the MCSL Practice Area during practice sessions? 13.1. No. Parents/spectators or other third parties are not allowed in the MCSL

Practice Area unless they are a Coach, Team Representative or assigned volunteer. However, if the facility has sufficient space and is under its MOCO mandated capacity limit, parents may be on site as long as they are not within the area the team has designated as the MCSL Practice Area and are compliant with all MOCO COVID-19 regulations for outdoor pools, including masking and physical distancing.

14. Our team has historically held numerous spirit events for team members and their families throughout the summer, including beach trips and “Fun Fridays” where team members play various games at the pool or a nearby park. Is this allowed under MCSL protocols this summer?

14.1. MCSL’s COVID-19 Practice and Meet protocols only cover MCSL practices and meets including, time trials, Intra-squad meets, “B” meets, and “A” meets. Spirit events, including team banquets, do not fall within the scope of MCSL’s COVID- 19 protocols and associated Letters of Approval granted MCSL by DHHS. Your team’s ability to hold such events will be governed by MOCO COVID-19 regulations.

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15. Our pool provides beginning swimmer lessons and also sponsors practice for a group of mini swimmers that have no interest in participating on the Competition Team. Neither program is associated with our MCSL team and do not participate in swim team activities.

15.1. Similar to the answer related to the holding of spirit events, these activities do not fall within the scope of MCSL’s practice and meet protocols and, unless you deem it necessary to obtain a separate Letter of Approval from DHHS, these programs will be governed by MOCO COVID-19 regulations in place at the time the activities are undertaken.

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