Who will practice sports where and when?

All sports associations with a focus on outdoor activities were asked to indicate how they expect to offer trainings in a responsible manner in times of corona. The umbrella organization for sports associations in Eindhoven (ESSF) hopes to return the approved protocols to the associations this week. Sports associations that normally practice indoor sports can submit a plan for outdoor activities at a later stage.

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photo Bart van Overbeeke

Participation lists, changing clothes at home, quickly vacating the premises to make way for others, no third half of a match in the canteen, and not helping with cleaning up. These are some examples of the measures taken by student sports associations to ensure that sports can be practiced in a responsible manner in the current corona era.

More than half of the outdoor sports associations responded to the ESSF’s call for a plan by Tuesday, says chairman Christiaan Goossens. That doesn’t mean the plans are immediately approved. Goossens explains: “The protocols must comply with the most recent RIVM guidelines and they must be in accordance with adequate research. That is why, for example, we are in contact with TU/e professor Bert Blocken, who studies the spread of the coronavirus during sports activities that involve wind. We decide in consultation with the Student Sports Centre and with TU/e’s corona crisis team.”

Tailor-made

A tailor-made plan is needed for each association. Who will train when and where? The space requirement varies per association. The ESSF chairman gives some examples: “The archers at Da Vinci stand still, so 1.5 meters will probably be enough. They need to draw up a plan for how their members alternate. You’ll need a bit more distance during activities that involve some walking, for instance golf. Then you have to calculate how many students you allow to play at the same time. And when you run, like the hockey players of Don Quishoot do, you’ll need even more distance.”

Associations that train off-campus, such as Asterix at athletics track De Hondsheuvels and Squadra at cycling track OpNoord in Woensel, need to write down what measures they will comply with at those locations. “If it meets our requirements, that’s fine naturally. But we do want to know.”

Outdoor judo

Once a schedule has been made for outdoor sports, ESSF will see whether it can find locations where indoor sports associations can organize substitute activities, Goossens says. ESSF will work closely with the municipality of Eindhoven for this purpose. “Finding space is the major problem. We are looking at several possible locations, such as parks or next to the Karpendonkse Plas. The municipality recognizes the importance of physical exercise and certainly thinks along with us. We inform the municipality where and when our associations go to a park, so that the BOA’s know about it. You’re not allowed to practice sports as an association without permission, and we warn associations to adhere to an approved schedule.”

Useful

Chairman Goossens is very busy these days. His part-time chair responsibilities keep him occupied for 24 hours a week, but he enjoys it as well. “ESSF’s usefulness becomes apparent now. So much goes on behind the scenes. It’s much more complicated than most students think.”

More distance means more space, which means more time and longer days. Every solution comes with its own questions. “Many associations need barrier tape and cones, for example. There’s not enough of these materials. In addition, only SSC trainers are allowed to touch SSC material, except for balls of course. I advise associations to bring their own material.”

ESSF will provide each association with feedback on the submitted plans as soon as possible. Approval will follow after the SSC association managers and the person responsible for associations on behalf of ESSF agree on the plans. Goossens, who is also working on his Bachelor’s final project at Software Engineering, will be glad when he sees everyone running around again. “Sports activities in times of corona are different than usual. Everyone needs to make some concessions. What you get in return is that you’re allowed to practice sports. I think students understand that. I see that people are mostly understanding and cooperative. We shouldn’t complain, but do the best we can.”

On Wednesday afternoon between 14:30 and 17:30 hrs., Christiaan Goossens and Randor Bongers will appear on TU/e Community Radio to give an update regarding sports on campus.

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