My my My my
SLACK Post – Coach Murphy, Oct 2nd

In the spirit of open and transparent communication in this very confusing time, I'm posting the contents of an email from the VASRA president regarding the upcoming season.  Please take note of the following:

• It's a long email, but there's a lot of good info in it

• many of the concerns she expresses are also in the caveats I cited earlier

• there are even more concerns than what I had and another "higher authority" that influences our ability to row: USRowing. 

• everything is still tbd... and I do mean everything...all we can do is work towards the dates that have been given and assume they are true and plan accordingly

• as you read the email and start to have questions, assume "your guess is as good as mine" is the response you'll get from just about everyone involved...From our DSA Jeff Ferrell on down to us coaches...just know we appreciate your patience and understanding

• I've bolded some points that I think are important 


Subject: "Guidance"

"If you have any answers other than pure speculation, I suggest you buy lottery tickets, because your crystal ball is better than mine. Basically, it is "wait and see" how scholastic sports develop, once they start/if they start, especially the fall sports, which will be outdoors and Season 2 under the VHSL plan. As you are probably aware,

VASRA is obliged by the DSAs of the participating schools, Crew Council, to follow VHSL guidelines for spring sports. Currently VHSL has adopted a condensed plan of activities, to begin 14 December for the winter activities. Scholastic rowing, being a spring sport, can under this schedule, commence training on 12 April, with the first competition weekend being 1 May. The conclusion of Season 3 (Spring) is 26 June. I have been and will remain in contact with the POC for the areas' DSAs, Bill Curran, Fairfax. The situation is by no means settled; there will be a decision by VHSL in November concerning the feasibility of the proposed schedule. One good take from conversations with Bill Curran is that the cancellation of one season or sport or one school or division, does not preclude the conduct or continuation of the other.

Any event that VASRA might conduct must abide by the federal, state, local, park and school level regulations. The current Sandy Run Park load is 250 persons, this is for the boathouse area as a whole; further restrictions of indoor group numbers apply to the boathouses and outdoor numbers and spacing to the docks. 

There are currently numerous requirements to be met for regattas to be Registered Regattas under the USRowing guidelines, which are published on their website and subject to periodic updates. We are required to have insurance by the park. Needless to say any future regattas will have a host of different requirements for their safe conduct and will likely be considerably different to what we have previously conducted.

At this point VASRA has many questions and not much in the way of definite answers. As stated, we are bound by the decisions of the agencies governing us, such decisions are extremely fluid given the changing situations. If we get a season in 2021, the following considerations bear strongly on any event:

• Sandy Run currently allows rowing only in singles and doubles, when a family group. What restrictions there are on team boats and training in the spring.

• Park load. Currently 250 persons. Our average practice day is in excess of 600 and a regatta is 1,300+. For regattas we are looking at the possibility of controlled access of blocks of 250/event types with a gap in between. We are also in discussions with NOVA Parks concerning the spring park load and how it applies to various areas. Possibly an increase to 1,000.

• Social distancing required as it affects: trailers, rigging, team tents, boathouse, buses and docks.

• Requirements for a Chief Medical Officer for the regatta.

• Temperature checks for all on entry.

• Requirements for USRowing Registered Regatta Insurance.

• Spectators. Probably no spectators, no internal buses or shuttles. 

• Possible change of MOU with NOVA parks to 15% of entry fee instead of parking, if there is little or no spectator parking. In discussions with the park on how VASRA is going to address this. 

• Cost of implementing the above and whether a registration fee increase is needed to cover cost.

So, yes. VASRA is looking at the season now. But it really is too soon to give definite answers and probably any answer we provide will be subject to change up until the date of the actual event. Initially there was a move to prioritize Varsity events to the exclusion of all others, however there is now inclusion of sub varsity in the scheduling of VHSL sports. VASRA believes that the inclusion of sub varsity level competition is necessary for the continued development of rowing teams.

VASRA has two possible schedules for the season and one variation on a schedule depending on the concurrence of the DSAs and the situation as it presents itself. This alternative would involve Sunday rowing on some, but not all weekends. The most likely schedule would have one regatta each Saturday between 1 May and 26 June; with the possibility of a two-day event 26-27 for the championship. Our very tentative, best case schedule is attached and published in the Key Dates on the website (vasra.org) What each regatta would look like is totally speculative at this point. Certainly there will be numerous challenges for any mass participation events moving forward. And we haven't even tentative numbers from the park yet. Nor do we have projected team numbers. Both key factors in determining how we will structure possible events.

In speaking with the DSAs, the current thought is that no overnight travel will be allowed and possibly no travel outside the local region at all (KCM NOTE:  at this time this means no Stotes or Nationals) I believe there is currently a 1 year moratorium on travel, but when this expires I do not know. Please note VHSL restrictions apply only to Virginia schools, the DC and private schools have a different schedule for the commencement of sporting events.

I have raised the subject of Green Days, but the response has been "Nothing formulated yet." 

VASRA is hoping for the best in the way of a spring season, but realizes that there is the possibility of cancellations again. VASRA would welcome any constructive suggestions as to how to format a reduced participation seasons schedule once we have more data upon which to make an informed decision.

by posted 10/02/2020
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