2020 PICL Season Events Plan – July 1 update

The 2020 PICL Season will look different than they have in the past. While attending to CDC and PA Government guidance and directives we are working to offer as much as we can. Plans have changed many times already this year and it should be noted that plans will likely continue to evolve.

This situation makes publishing plans for event weekends in particular more challenging because we do not have the capacity to update these plans for you with every single change.

Details will follow as we draw closer to September and October, guidance and basic information is below.

Key CDC guidance includes the following:

The more people a child or coach interacts with, the closer the physical  interaction, the more sharing of equipment there is by multiple players, and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread. Therefore, risk of COVID-19 spread can be different, depending on the type of activity. The risk of COVID-19 spread increases in youth sports settings as follows:

  • Lowest Risk: Performing skill-building drills or conditioning at home, alone or with family members.
  • Increasing Risk: Team-based practice.
  • More Risk: Within-team competition.
  • Even More Risk: Full competition between teams from the same local geographic area.
  • Highest Risk: Full competition between teams from different geographic areas.

Coaches and league officials must review and consider the CDC guidance on consideration for youth sports to modify practices and games to mitigate the risk of spreading the virus. This includes focusing on individual skill building versus competition and limiting contact in close contact sports.

  • PICL is already enacting this guidance and we are working with coaches to manage the practice planning while ensure that teams are ready to return to play.

— Parents, teams need coaches and your team may need significant help to ensure that all students are able to practice. We all need to maintain athlete to coach ratios on all rides and this year there may be more rides as teams are broken into smaller groups. A great way to minimize contact is to keep groups small and consisting of the same riders, including coaches. Becoming a NICA Level 1 coach is a completely online process. With more people working from home we know that there is more potential for more coaches. Please consider helping your team by becoming a coach today! —

  • Our first PICL events will consist of small groups consisting of teams from the same local geographic area in Local Dirt events. These can be thought of as “dual or tri-meet style” events, will begin as Adventure, GRiT, or similar excursions, and advance to scrimmage style events as regional cohorts are trained and prepared to Local Dirts.
  • Currently, three larger “state” events are in the plans for September and October.

Additional guidance from the CDC includes:

The way sports are played, and the way equipment is shared can influence the spread of COVID-19 among players. When you are assessing the risk of spread in your sport, consider:

  • Physical closeness of players, and the length of time that players are close to each other or to staff. Sports that require frequent closeness between players may make it more difficult to maintain social distancing, compared to sports where players are not close to each other. For close-contact sports (e.g., wrestling, basketball), play may be modified to safely increase distance between players.
    • For example, players and coaches can:
      • focus on individual skill building versus competition;
      • limit the time players spend close to others by playing full contact only in game-time situations;
      • decrease the number of competitions during a season.

    Coaches can also modify practices so players work on individual skills, rather than on competition. Coaches may also put players into small groups (cohorts) that remain together and work through stations, rather than switching groups or mixing groups.

  • Amount of necessary touching of shared equipment and gear (e.g., protective gear, balls, bats, racquets, mats, or water bottles). It is also possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it, and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes. Minimize equipment sharing, and clean and disinfect shared equipment between use by different people to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread.
  • Ability to engage in social distancing while not actively engaged in play (e.g., during practice, on the sideline, or in the dugout). During times when players are not actively participating in practice or competition, attention should be given to maintaining social distancing by increasing space between players on the sideline, dugout, or bench. Additionally, coaches can encourage athletes to use downtime for individual skill-building work or cardiovascular conditioning, rather than staying clustered together.

Important considerations for all gatherings:
— The current maximum allowable gathering size for an event in Pennsylvania is 250 people on site at one time.
— Riders, coaches, and staff are key personnel for events. It will likely be necessary to limit most or all others from the event venues until gathering size limits are increased.
— The less time on site and the fewer interactions there are between all of us (which is really tough since the getting together is some of the best stuff) the more protected we all are.

So what does all of this mean?

These considerations have led us to the following “state” event plans for 2020, at this point in time:

  • Reduce the number of state events to no more than three
  • Eliminate the season long points standings
  • Support Local Dirt events for neighboring teams and build these wherever possible
  • Focus on Individual Time Trial events — riders leave the start line one at a time and compete against the clock
  • Reduce and eliminate event infrastructure as much as possible as a way to reduce contact time and material handling
  • Explore additional event concepts for ways to balance concerns.

Finally – how about that schedule?!?!?!
As of right now (about midnight on June 30)

September 11-13 – Grinnin’ at Granite – Granite Hill Campground, Gettysburg, PA
October 2-4 – Fair Hill Invasion – Fair Hill NMRA, Fair Hill, MD
October 16-18 – High Ground at J-Town, Memorial Park, Johnstown, PA

There is a possibility that the league will be hosting a league fundraiser event at the Oesterling Farm over August 28-30, rescheduled from July 18-19, which was rescheduled from April 4-5….and that’s 2020 in a nutshell.

And that’s why this is all subject to change.

We need you to know that we will need to create additional protocols and practices in order to create larger events. It is your responsibility to be aware of these protocols in advance of the event and come prepared.

One of the best ways that we can protect each other, our family members, and ourselves is to remain vigilant and follow this key guidance:

Caregivers should monitor their children for symptoms prior to any sporting event.  Children and athletes who are sick or showing symptoms must stay home.