STATEMENT TO THE LITTLE ATHLETICS AUSTRALIA COMMUNITY
Wednesday 18 March 2020
Following on from our announcement yesterday the Board of Little Athletics Australia wishes to advise state and territory member associations and Little Athletics Centres that the conduct of organised activities at these Centres should be suspended immediately due to the evolving situation of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) until at least 20 April 2020 when the Board will reassess the situation and provide further advice.
This difficult decision to direct the suspension of community-level athletics was not taken lightly and has been made in line with the latest federal and state government expert health advice regarding non-essential gatherings and social distancing practices. If the situation changes LAA will update our advice.
We provide this direction in the best interests of the health and well-being of our Little Athletics community. Little Athletics Australia President, Andrew Pryor said; “Our concern is for the children, their families and volunteers who come to our Centres. We are focussed on how our organisation can continue to provide a trusted and safe environment. Our thoughts are with those who are about to launch their main season in the north of the country and we hope there will be opportunities to open up Centres in the coming months. We are very aware of the impact of this decision but I encourage everyone to continue to plan for a successful 2020-21 season if we are unable to get underway sooner.”
The suspension of Centre activity should apply to all organised events, social gatherings, competitions and training sessions planned. It is currently still appropriate for Centre administration to proceed with essential processes such as reporting and end of season governance obligations, but we do encourage committees and administrators to undertake these inline with the governments’ advice and utilising strategies such as remote working practices.
We encourage all members to remember the following behaviours to help maintain good
● Wash hands regularly with hand soap for more than 20 seconds and use fresh paper towels or air blowers to dry hands;
● Use sanitising alcohol-based (at least 60% alcohol) hand rub in-between hand washing;
● When coughing or sneezing, ensure that you do so into the fold of your elbow.
● When using a tissue to blow your nose, dispose of the tissue immediately and refrain from placing tissues back into pockets or bags;
● Maintain a safe buffer distance between (1.5 m suggested) to minimise transmission and provide reassurance to others by respecting their space;
● Avoid touching your face with your hands; and
● Do not touch surfaces that may be at risk of being contaminated.
Where individuals do choose to gather for unorganised training we ask they also follow the clear advice of keeping groups to a minimum and appropriate distances. If any member is unwell they should not participate in any level of activity with other members of the Athletics family.
The LAA office is working closely with the state and territory associations, our partners, governments and other commercial providers to minimise the impact of this decision on our members.
LAA CEO, Martin Stillman said; “Our primary focus during this difficult time is the health and well-being of our athletics family and the community and the protection of peoples health; this is of paramount importance to LAA. This direction was not taken lightly and be assured we are committed to continued engagement and providing support to our Member Associations and Centres during these challenging times. We are all in this together and LAA has a responsibility as a national sporting organisation to make responsible and timely announcements with a view to assisting limiting the transmission of the coronavirus.”
Please note these recommendations may be updated frequently over the coming weeks and months, and we encourage people to keep abreast of recommendations. LAA will create a dedicated page where updates will be posted when the situation requires a change of circumstances.
We also encourage everyone to use the following link for up to date information on the governments’ recommendations – click on the following link: https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert
The Little Athletics Australia team will continue to ensure the organisation and its members are supported and prepared to meet the challenges as they present themselves. The team is also actively engaged with Athletics Australia and other authorities to find ways of adapting to the circumstances and ensure they deliver the best outcomes possible for our sport.