Napanee District Skating Club is ready to hit the ice next month with a few adjustments to their program to ensure the safety of its skaters and coaches.
Registration is now open for their CanSkate, which begins Oct. 5. Registration can be done online at www.napaneedistrictskatingclub.com/.
The club has already begun some of its programming and will be in full swing, at least by 2020 standards, early next month.
“We are really lucky, we’re pretty much back to normal,” said Jill Woodall, a coach with the NDSC. “We’ve had to make some changes to the delivery of the programming for CanSkate specifically because we can’t have 40 kids on the ice. Thankfully there’s been some relaxing of the delivery mandate from Skate Canada, our national sport governing body, that is allowing us to shorten the lesson time so that we can actually run two separate sessions in the times that we would normally run one and therefor have fewer kids so a lower ratio of skaters to coach will hopefully make up for the 10 minutes less that the session will be. Instead of a 45 minute CanSkate session, it will be 35 minutes.”
In addition to breaking the classes into smaller sizes, they’ve also developed protocols to ensure minimal contact between the different classes.
“We’ve worked really hard with (Town of Greater Napanee staff) Chris Brown and Raeanne McGuinness at the SPC to figure out the logistics of getting a group in, segregated and appropriately distanced in dressing rooms, coming on at one end of the ice to do their CanSkate session and having it organized so that the kids can socially distance on the circuit while on the ice,” said Woodall. “Then they will exit from the door that they entered upon and as they’re getting off the ice we’re spraying down all the pylons and noodles with disinfectant and then the next group will come on from the other end from a totally different set of dressing rooms so that in theory there shouldn’t be any sort of crossover between those people.”
Classes will be limited to experienced skaters who are already mobile and able to get back up if they fall to the ice. COVID-19 protocols limit the amount of contact a coach can have with a skater, meaning they’ll be unable to help an inexperienced skater maintain their balance and therefor ask that only those who have skated before sign up for this year.
Because of the limitations to the amount of people who can be on the ice at a given time, space is more limited than in previous years.
Despite the new rules, Woodall says they are looking forward to returning to the ice and not losing an entire year of instruction. Last year they were unable to host their annual year-end Carnival as the season was unexpectedly shutdown a few weeks ahead of the event due to COVID-19. It’s particularly important to have a season for the graduating skaters.
“For a couple of our skaters it’s their last year before they go to university and we’ve always liked to showcase them before they leave us and give them a little bit of a highlight for all their hard work sticking with skating through high school and socializing in high school and having part time jobs,” said Woodall. “We certainly hope to give the year, especially this year, a really nice send off, but it’s a bit early to tell. The programming is in place from now until the end of March and we do have a Carnival booked for March 28. Now we just cross our fingers and hope that it can all happen.”