Protocol for a Safe Return to Skiing  and winter adaptive activities in a Pandemic Environment (ASF 2021). Read attentively, this section contains important details regarding planning and the conduct of your activity.

The Adaptive Sports Foundation was given the green light from le Gouvernement du Québec to go ahead, plan and deliver an amended version of its Adaptive Winter Ski Program and other winter sports activities, this is excellent news!

ASF plans on offering safe ski and skating sessions in a Covid-19 environment, by developing a plan based on directions from Quebec Public Health authorities as well as collaborating with different ski hills and locations where ASF offers its services. Because of the isolation felt during the pandemic, our adaptive sports opportunities take on a vital necessity to those that require our assistance to get out and play safely.

The protocol is designed to allow program activities to resume with modifications and restrictions and ensure the health and safety of our community. Rest assured, the ASF does recognize the vulnerability of some of our participants with compromised immune systems; thus, health and safety measures will be at the forefront of all we do. Initially, our programs will be adapted for much smaller groups than in pre-pandemic times. Note that all lessons will be individual lessons.

As the situation evolves, we will adapt and we plan that over time, things may move back to normal.  However, we do not control how fast this will take place. Initially, expect ASF to offer a reduced capacity compared to the program known to you at Owl's Head over the last 25 years. This is an unprecedented time, whether our venue is within a pandemic Alert Level 2 - Early Warning (Yellow), Level 3 Alert (Orange) or event Level 4 Maximum Alert (Red) the risk remains, thus changes are to be expected as to who will be eligible to participate. For example, priority will be given to participants that can transfer themselves, in order to minimize the risks and maintain physical distancing. 

Keep in mind that as the situation evolves, the ASF reserves the right to amend or change its practices to comply with government regulations or other health and safety parameters to reduce the risk of infection to our community.

This year we will go paperless: registration forms will only be available online and booking formalities will need to be done 24 hours prior to the activity (instructions will be communicated).

Because the pandemic environment is one of numerous unknowns and changes, program participants and volunteers will need to remain flexible and understand that all ASF parameters will be subject to adjustments and changes throughout the winter season. We hope you understand that this is necessary to ensure the program is sustained and kept in a reduced risk environment for all.

Since ASF implements a strict protocol and risk reduction measures, volunteers will be able to actively contribute to ASF activities regardless of which zone alert level they come from. Every effort will be made to match each participant and volunteer by origin zone alert level. For participants or volunteers to cross into a lower alert level zone during an ASF activity, the ASF Director must grant formal written permission, on a case-by-case basis, to take part in an activity. 

Participants, family and volunteers, who are at greater risk of infection (aged 70 and older, weakened immune system and some designated chronic diseases) should not consider not participating in our 2021 Winter Program. Choosing to participate is solely at the risk of the individual and not the ASF. We are devoted to assisting and allowing people to practice sports, but our domain is not one of essential need, and we should not put anyone at undue risk. Therefore, if in doubt about your status, we encourage you to stay home and remain safe.

ASF highly encourages staff, volunteers and participants to download and register the Covid App to reduce risk related to Covid-19 when taking part in ASF activities.
As directed by Gouvernement du Québec Health Authorities any person : 
tested positive for Covid-19;
displaying Covid-19 symptoms;
awaiting to get tested or for test results;
having recently been in contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19; or,
recently returning from abroad,
Should be in self-isolation and will not take part in an ASF activity.

2021 PROGRAM PARAMETERS

All Alert levels

All activities (in processing, administration, preparation, training and practicing sports) will only take place outdoors. Indoor facilities (to include restrooms) will only be accessible to rest and warm up for 15 minutes maximum.

No walk-ins will be accepted, due to the limited scope of the program this year.

Participants must breathe independently (ASF activities can unfortunately not cater to those using medical/mechanical devices to sustain breathing this year). Participants must be able to put on their face covering without assistance.

Priority will be given to participants who take part in an activity assisted by a supporting peer for those requiring physical transfer or other assistance, arrangements will be possible if requested in advance. It is strongly recommended to come to the activity with a supporting peer (family or friend) who will be assisting ASF personnel for the duration of the activity. No other guests or visitors will be accepted in the immediate activities’ vicinity.

To take part in an activity, participants must be able to put on their own equipment such as: helmet, footwear, gloves and face covering (also after a fall) or get help from their peer assistant. They must be able to maintain adequate nutrition, hydration (bring your own water bottle this year), dress, and other personal needs independently or with the assistance of an assisting peer. They must be able to get to and use the restrooms without ASF assistance since it is inside.

Reservations for participation must be made a minimum 7 days prior to the day desired. Participants and ASF personnel (volunteer or staff) are expected to strictly adhere to provincial and zone health measures in force even more so in the two (2) weeks prior to taking part in ASF activities.

Prior to departing home for an ASF activity, participants, peer assistants, volunteers and staff must complete the Quebec Covid-19 self-assessment questionnaire. On arrival, each person is to positively report having completed it and able to take part in the activity limiting risk to others.

On site, participants will be matched with a very limited number of ASF personnel (volunteer or staff) and remain exclusively with them throughout their activity with ASF. Both participant and volunteer will make decisions based on limiting their close exposure to as few people as possible, this will be a priority.

Everyone will have their own face covering / mask (ASF can provide by exception only). As stated by the Government of Quebec: a face covering, neck-warmer type, should be worn over the nose and mouth when on the lift or in the waiting lines and a distance of 2 metres should be kept at all time in those waiting lines. Additionally, for ASF activities, recognizing the nature of close interaction between participants and ASF personnel, face coverings will be required at all times during ASF activity, including during skiing. Physical distancing of 2 metres is required when direct assistance is not necessary to conduct the activity.

Close contact within 2m should still only occur when both persons are wearing face coverings and only when necessary for the conduct of the activity or in case of security necessity. When it takes place, the participant and volunteer should make every possible effort to reduce the time spent in close proximity (e.g. getting on or off the ski lift, assisting with getting up after falling on the side). Staff and volunteers will NOT assist with personal hygiene or any other needs for which a participant requires assistance. 

Participants and ASF personnel are expected to practice all government health recommendations such as frequent hand washing, use of alcohol-based disinfectant when appropriate, practice cough/sneeze etiquette, avoid direct contact (hand shake, high fives, hugs, singing loudly) and wear face covering when directed to. Protective equipment must be worn appropriately over the mouth and nose. Failure to apply these basic safety measures places everyone at risk and could cause the activity to be cancelled.

Level 2 - Early Warning (Yellow) and Level 3 - Alert (Orange)

Participants and ASF personnel will only do equipment fitting and transfers from the wheelchair to the adaptive equipment (and the other way around) outdoors where risk is drastically reduced. Participants and ASF personnel will have to wear personal protective equipment during transfer manoeuvres.

Level 4 - Maximum Alert (Red)

It is mandatory to come to the activity with an assisting peer who will be helping ASF staff for the duration of the lesson.

ASF personnel will NOT assist with transfers, fitting of the equipment or any physical help.

ASF personnel will assist with handling equipment and loading/unloading from lifts. They will also assist with getting back up after a fall on the side.

IN CASE OF EMERGENCY OR FOR SAFETY REASONS ASF PERSONNEL WILL ACT ACCORDINGLY AND BRING ASSISTANCE TO THE PARTICIPANT.

WHENEVER A PARTICIPANT FALLS ONTO HIS/HER SIDE WHILE SKIING, ASF PERSONNEL WILL BE THERE TO ASSIST.

In the interest of everyone’s safety, the Adaptive Sports Foundation reserves the right to make the final decision on whether or not a participant or a volunteer can partake in an activity. Decisions will be made with the best level of transparency possible with respect to risk levels and parameters influencing this decision. 

ASF HEALTH AND SAFETY MEASURES

The following procedures will be implemented to reduce the risk of infection at ASF activities: 
All equipment will be cleaned after use or handling by ASF equipment coordinator;
A tag system will be used to indicate equipment that has been sanitized;
Records of attendance (participants, ASF personnel) will be kept;
Instances of Covid exposure will be noted and reported to health authorities;
Personnel risk reduction practices will be enforced (distancing, face covering … ). A proper fitting face covering will be worn at all times during ASF activities (indoors and outdoors) and while skiing;
Minute coordination will be a priority in order to reduce risk of infection as much as possible;
“ASF Protocol”, will be shared with Ski Hill administration to conduct as safe and compliant a program as we can;
Where a discrepancy exists between government parameters and Ski Hill practices, the most restrictive measure will be adopted until a final decision can be made by ASF direction.

ASF PERSONNEL (STAFF AND VOLUNTEER) RESPONSIBILITIES
Be knowledgeable with ASF Protocol;
Follow established procedures and protocols as directed;
Adopt sanitation practices in an effective and safe manner;
Follow public health and safety recommendations regarding exposure risks at all time, especially in the two weeks prior to an ASF activity;
During the activity, monitor own signs of COVID-19 symptoms, isolate on location, then report immediately to staff in charge for further instructions;
Wear mask and gloves while handling equipment and supplies (other than equipment for personal use);
Display an exemplary practice with respect to wearing a face covering at all times during the conduct of the activity;
Clean all collective equipment using approved cleaning products following their use or handling;
Clean any workspaces regularly.

PARTICIPANT RESPONSIBILITIES
Read and apply ASF Protocol;
Apply ASF program rules and procedures as directed;
Act in a safe manner at all time;
Follow public health and safety recommendations regarding exposure risks at all time, especially in the two weeks prior to an ASF activity; 
Upon arrival, await to be formally assigned to a specific equipment prior to handling any equipment on site (failure to do this could shorten everyone’s time on the slopes);
Monitor own signs of COVID-19 symptoms, isolate on location, then report immediately to staff for further instructions; 
Wear a face covering at all times during the conduct of the activity;
Communicate politely with others to alert them of your presence in smaller spaces;
Participants who are formally exempt from wearing a face covering or mask may request advanced permission in writing to wear a face shield instead. However, additional physical distancing will be required. 

ACCOMPANYING PEER RESPONSIBILITIES
Be familiar with the ASF Protocol;
Follow public health and safety recommendations regarding exposure risks at all time, especially in the two weeks prior to an ASF activity;
Responsible for participant transfer to and from chair and ski equipment (with or without ASF staff assistance, depending on alert level in effect);
Must be able to ski and assist participant during the entire duration of the activity;
Follow direction from ASF personnel;
Adopt sanitation practices in an effective and safe manner;
Wear a face covering at all times during the conduct of the activity;
During the activity, monitor own signs of COVID-19 symptoms, isolate on location, then report immediately to staff in charge for further instructions.