April 13, 2021
Dear Club Members:
Once again in Michigan, we find ourselves in a troubling situation with regard to rampant spread of COVID-19. With the memory of having our entire facility shut down last year, my main goal is to allow the club to continue to operate in the safest way possible. As a pediatric cardiac intensive care physician, my everyday job involves making quick decisions while balancing difficult-to-measure risks and benefits. This situation is unfortunately similar in all too many ways.
Based on the governor's recent advice and request for a voluntary pause in "youth sports," we do have some latitude in deciding what to do – but not at the cost of transferring undue risk to our members or their families. We have carefully sought consultation with the Washtenaw County Health Department and the AAFSC Board of Directors (which includes multiple medical personnel) in order to inform our next actions.
At this time we have made the decision to pause all youth group classes, including all non-adult Learn To Skate (LTS) programs. Individual training, private lessons and synchro will continue to operate with distancing and 100% masking required, as at present. The rationale for the latter decision is twofold: we have seen no cases of disease transmission between AAFSC members while maintaining proper masking and distancing protocols; and individual training is distinct from youth sports.
However, we must continually evaluate the data on COVID positivity and we may need to make further adjustments (which could include a temporary club shutdown) if these data are worrisome.
Therefore, in order to have the data on where the COVID cases are and to ensure that COVID-positive skaters and coaches are not inadvertently entering our facility, we will institute a requirement of weekly testing that is similar to what our 13 to 19-year-old skaters have been required to do since the beginning of April. Given that the turnaround time for these tests is up to 48 hours, we will delay the start of the following requirements until 4/19:
- - All skaters and coaches including those involved in individual training, private lessons and synchro, who are not at least 2 weeks post their final COVID vaccine and who do not have a documented history of COVID illness within the last 3 months are asked to provide to the club via email (email@example.com) a screen shot of a COVID PCR-based test which clearly shows their name, the date of the test, and the type of test. For this group, skaters and coaches without a negative test within the preceding 7 calendar days will not be allowed on the ice.
- - All skaters and coaches including those involved in individual training, private lessons and synchro, who are at least 2 weeks post their final COVID vaccine are asked to provide to the club via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) a photo of their COVID vaccination card showing their name, the date of the vaccines, and the type of vaccine.
- - All skaters and coaches including those involved in individual training, private lessons and synchro, who had COVID illness within the last 3 months are asked to provide to the club some documentation of that (positive test or doctor note) via email (email@example.com).
These requirements will continue through the end of April, at which point we will re-examine them and hopefully scale them back if it is safe to do so.
As a parent of two skaters, one who has been required to test, and another who will be based on this new policy, I understand the significant inconvenience this poses to families. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we try to maintain the reality of figure skating for our members despite this extraordinarily difficult situation.
Ranjit Aiyagari, MD
AAFSC Club President