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Discussion: Norwegian guidelines for organizing local orienteering events

in: Orienteering; General

May 11, 2020 4:36 PM # 
Last week, the Norwegian government opened up for gatherings of up to 50 people, and the Norwegian Orienteering Federation issued guidelines for organizing local orienteering events accordingly.
See the link to the announcement here (in Norwegian) and a lightly edited google translate version below:

Guidelines for organizing local orienteering events in Norway.
The Guidelines are valid from May 7 to June 15.
The basis for these guidelines is the authorities’ current infection prevention advice related to (i) the number of people gathered, (ii) social distancing, (iii) personal hygiene, and (iv) prevention of infection through touch. The authorities allow for organizing events as long as these events follow the relevant CDC recommendations.
NB! Individuals who have symptoms of respiratory infection should not attend/organize (even with only mild symptoms). This also applies to people who are in quarantine or in isolation. People in higher-risk groups are generally advised not to participate in events.
In order to limit travel activity, the guidelines are preferably used to organize local events only.

In Norway, it is now allowed to arrange orienteering events with up to 50 people gathered at any time. Orienteering activities performed individually is in itself not associated with a significant risk of spreading infections. The challenges are more related to (i) travel, (ii) the event center/arena, (iii) the start area, and (iv) punching at the controls.

For the organizer:
The organizer shall designate an infection control officer who is responsible for compliance with the rules at all times. This person shall be given authority to cancel the event and/or expel individuals from the event, if these guidelines are not complied with.
The prevention measures in place must be communicated to the participants both in the event invitation and at the event center/arena.
The organizer must have procedures in place to handle people who become ill during the event itself.
The arena and start area shall be arranged so that there are never more than 50 persons gathered at the same time [including participants and all other attendees]. This allows for new participants to join when those who have finished have left the event. The start time window should be wide, with no more than 3 runners starting per minute. The start area should be designed to ensure sufficient distancing. Each club/participant is assigned a specific start time block. This should be clearly stated in the organizer's event information.
When preparing maps, everyone involved should wash their hands before starting the task.
The organizer shall ensure adequate placement of disinfectants and clean water at the start and at the finish. Disinfectants do not work well on visibly dirty skin.
When placing control punches in the forest, the unit should be cleaned after it has been installed.
By the toilets, there should be access to clean water and disinfectants. Wash hands before and after the visit.
In order to avoid unnecessary gathering of people, registration should mainly be done digitally in advance.
There should be no sales or post-run water offered at the arena.
Prizes should not be distributed at the arena.
Split times slips should not be distributed. All results are to be made available online afterwards.

For participants:
Events are conducted according to the principle of come-run-go home, and no one should remain at the event center longer than necessary.
Follow the organizer's instructions. Remember the 1 meter distancing rule for anyone not living in the same household.
Do not stop by the control flag after punching – step away from the control if you need some time to prepare the next leg.
All participants bring their own water/wash cloth for cleaning after the finish.
Bring your own water bottle and food.

Start area procedures:
Follow the organizer's instructions related to start times and the procedures at the start. Remember the distancing rule when waiting at the start.
Everyone should use disinfections on their hands before entering the start queue.

Finish area procedures:
Plan the finish area so that there is sufficient space for distancing. After finishing, it should be arranged for participants to disinfect hands and electronic dibbers before downloads - prepare distancing markings in order to manage any queue for the downloads. Visible dirt must first be wiped away in order for the disinfectants to work effectively.
Do not gather closely together afterwards to discuss the course and route choices - distancing rules apply.

After the race:
Follow the organizer's instructions regarding staying at the arena. Do not stay unnecessarily at the arena after finishing. Take your belongings with you and leave the event as soon as practicable.
May 12, 2020 7:20 AM # 
Thank you. Around here we are about to move down one crisis level and its good to consider all sets of guidance.
May 12, 2020 11:25 AM # 
USOPC has issued guidance for return to training and events:

The return to training is likely more relevant for most American orienteering events, because of the size of event and infrastructure, but they also have event guidance at that link. In short, USOPC has five phases:

1. Train alone, coach virtually, shelter in place, clean everything.

2. No longer sheltering in place, but public health officials still don't allow group gatherings. Train alone, coach virtually, clean everything (roughly where we are now)

3. Small group activities allowed (<10 ppl), but public facilities still closed. Required criteria for participation: No signs or symptoms of COVID19 for the last 14 days. Has been living in the place you're meeting for 14 days. No contact with anyone who is sick for 14 days. Some additional optional criteria related to testing.

Also: minimize changes in group composition, self monitor for symptoms, train outside and keep distanced, use your own equipment, no direct contact with each other, and clean everything.

4. Public facilities open and no limit on group size. Still can't join if symptoms of COVID19 in last 14 days. Must live in location for 14 days before joining group, no close contact with anyone who is sick for 14 days prior to joining group. Continue to self monitor, two negative tests within 24h. Clean everything.

5. Vaccine developed and back to "normal". Vaccinate, educate, and clean everything.

From reading that, seems we would want to be in phase 4 before we start hosting orienteering events (locally) in this country.
May 12, 2020 3:35 PM # 
Those USOPC guidelines seem really good. I think the part orienteers are going to struggle with is the “live in location for 14 days” before participating. Seems important to stress that and not encourage people to travel a long way for O. We just have to figure out how big these areas are.
May 12, 2020 4:47 PM # 
So, basically day trips only. No weekend-long events.
May 12, 2020 8:21 PM # 
Orienteers have a pretty stretchy definition of "day trip". I could argue that Mt. Tom is within day trip area for me, but not Harriman, though others would clearly disagree in either direction.
May 12, 2020 8:58 PM # 
It's a day trip if you don't spend the night away from home. Wake up at home, back in bed at home. If you spend the night in your camper van, that gets to be more of a gray area.

I also know people who have a vacation house in another state from their primary residence (i.e. one in NH, the other in MA). If they go to the vacation house and don't stop anywhere else in that state, seems to me that it doesn't matter how many days they spend in the vacation house, there's no route for disease to spread.

Gong to a two-day meet (whether in state or out of state) and spending Saturday night at lodging that isn't yours, that becomes an issue.
May 12, 2020 9:05 PM # 
Right, but unless you go to an event and literally don't talk to anyone then there is some risk of transmission. I would imagine that crossing state lines might make contact tracing and other public health control efforts more difficult. We're really getting into the 'out of my ass' territory here. I just feel like me going from a hotspot (greater Boston) to meet up with a bunch of people who haven't been exposed is a dumb idea.
May 12, 2020 9:14 PM # 
If you go to an event and you do talk to people, it doesn't make much difference whether it's across state lines. Mt. Wachusett, Pawtuckaway, Mt. Tom, Gay City, Harriman, whatever. For my Mt. Tom trip on Sunday, as far as I'm concerned the only person I had any interaction with was Phil, and that was really minimal. Roughly like my interaction with you at Nobscot. Could we conduct actual meets at that level? Local events, could be, WCOC and UNO meets would probably be manageable, but NEOC ones get a bigger turnout. A-meets would be more of a challenge.
May 12, 2020 9:20 PM # 
I'm just thinking about the hypothetical contact tracers here and how hard their job already is. Going to another state and meeting with people from - potentially - several other states just sounds like a nightmare for them.
May 12, 2020 10:04 PM # 
I didn't read the whole document, because it's long, but I'll note that the " two negative tests within 24 hours" should read "two negative tests separated by 24 hours". And I'm not sure if that applies, because it's mentioned with respect to Level 1 sports, and I'd say orienteering is a Level 3 sport.

But they also say that people age >65 should be encouraged to stay away, and that's most of our competitors.
May 13, 2020 8:18 AM # 
Terje Mathisen:
Some of the Nydalens SK juniors/seniors are having a training camp in a few weeks, they are organizing this in the middle of Nordmarka, in some of the best O terrain we have but which is _very_ rarely used since they plan to bike 15 km in and stay the weekend in separate tents, with everyone bringing their own food/tents/etc. I.e. just a bunch of people that happens to make a bike packing trip to the same area but never getting closer than the requisite 2m minimum.

Such plans are of course easier in Scandinavia with public right of access everywhere in the back country.

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