Netball NI Return to Play Procedures

Update 8 December 2021

Following review, the documents below have been updated to reflect the current situation.

The changes are highlighted in each document for ease but the main point being that we have amended the action required if deemed a close contact, aligning with recent guidance issued by the NI Executive:

Players who are a close contact of a positive case may attend training/club activity provided they meet the following:
1) are not displaying any symptoms of Covid 19 and
2) are double vaccinated more than 2 weeks or have received negative results of a Lateral Flow or PCR test since being deemed a close contact within 48 hours of attending the activity or evidence of a positive PCR result within the previous 180 days and following completion of the self-isolation period.

Update 1 November 2021

As per the information discussed at the Club Forum on Saturday 16th October, please see updated Return to Play documents below. Please note, as detailed at the forum, these changes do not come into effect until 1st November 2021, all sessions prior to this date must maintain the procedures issued previously.

Updated documents:

Update 27th May 2021

Please find the updated documents below:

Update April 2021

Here are the updated documents around return to play.

Update: 24 August 2021

Additional support documents added to Club Packs:

1. Checklist for return – a summary of requirements for clubs and social groups before returning to play. Clubs will not be permitted to return to play until the checklist has been completed and they have received written sign off from Netball NI.

2. Game modifications – all modifications must be adhered to by all clubs/social groups until further notice

Update: 18 August 2021

You may now have seen the exciting news we have all been waiting for…the UK Government have given the green light to the Return to Play Action Plan submitted by England Netball, with amendments.

As all members will have been advised, this is the first step for netball in Northern Ireland returning. The Action Plan does require some amendments, which need to be reviewed by Netball NI and updated protocols approved by the Netball NI Board. This will be completed later this week at the scheduled Board meeting.

Once approved we will issue all clubs the updated modifications to the game, and amendments regarding facility use and hygiene that must be adhered to. Clubs must complete all the required paperwork and procedures outlined below, before they are authorised to return to indoor training. If you need support with this work, please let us know.

Netball NI are aware of and are working with a number of clubs who will not have access to a training venue as quickly as others, and as such we will have a later return to competition than England Netball. As the majority of their domestic netball is played outdoors they can return more easily than indoor competition.

This is a really positive step towards our return, please bear with us for another couple of days as we digest and finalise the additional amendment communication.

The ‘Return to Play’ documents below are to support the work of the Covid Officers and Committee within your club.

Reminder: it is compulsory for every club to have a Covid Officer in place prior to commencing any training.

The online course is available via  Certificates must be forwarded to Clubs and Community Officer Lisa Rickett, before clubs will be permitted to return to training.

Supporting documents

Additional support documents added 24th August:

Images of resources available to download (above)

The documents should be used as follows:

Checklist for return – a summary of requirements for clubs and social groups before returning to play. Clubs will not be permitted to return to play until the checklist has been completed and they have received written sign off from Netball NI (new – added 24th August)

Game modifications – all modifications must be adhered to by all clubs/social groups until further notice (new – added 24th August)

Roadmap – as NI residents, we are currently in phase 3 of the roadmap. We recognise that while summer time is traditionally a downtime period for club activity, many of our clubs do undertake a pre season training schedule that may begin around August time. If clubs wish to undertake this activity outdoors, that is your decision and is not under Netball NI guidance. We strongly recommend that if you are planning to do this as clubs, you complete all the required protocols we have in place for a return to indoor activity. Indoor netball activity is still currently suspended but we do hope to provide a further update on this very soon. We will provide updates as to when we have moved to stage 4 and then stage 5 on the Roadmap.

Player Guidelines – distribute to every member of your club, ask them to read, sign and return a copy for your club to keep in accordance with your GDPR policy.

Risk Assessment template – this is a comprehensive document and much of it will be covered by the protocols within your training venue. Please complete in advance of your first session and return to Netball NI, Clubs and Community Officer Lisa Rickett, No club will be permitted to return to training until this has been received.

Self Assessment template – every club member, coach, volunteer etc must complete this form prior to being admitted to a training session. Clubs must retain these documents in line with their GDPR policy. We recommend retaining these documents until such time as a member has left the club or we have medical and government advice that Covid-19 is no longer a risk.

Covid Officer Roles and Responsibilities – Guidelines as to what is required of a Covid Officer. Please note, while there must be at least 1 named Officer per club, it is the responsibility of the club committee to support the work of the Covid Officer.

Additional Club Guidance – General information that will support your club in it’s return.

Contact Tracing Template – an electronic copy of this should be kept to support any requirement for tracing.

Sanitising Netballs – please ensure all netballs are sanitised regularly throughout sessions and equipment sharing is minimal.

U12 Covid Training – Newcastle Netball Club, having completed the required Sport Ireland Covid training, have created an U12-friendly presentation that they have allowed us to share.
We recommend all senior members and junior parents complete the Sport Ireland training. This presentation is appropriate and valuable for your younger members to help explain the current situation and hopefully provide confidence in their return to netball in as safe an environment as we can make it, with all members playing their part.

Sport NI Resource pack – these are posters created by Sport NI that you can use at your sessions to reinforce the safety measures in place

NI Executive Posters – posters that can be used at your sessions to reinforce the safety measures that must be taken.

We recognise there is a lot of information to take in. Please be assured we are issuing these protocols not to cause extra work for our members but because we know that our sport is one that comes with higher risks than say an outdoor or individual sport and we want to support you all as best we can to return to play as safely as possible.

Netball NI are running online sessions for all club members in August to cover the use of these documents and go through the protocols. Clubs will be allocated to a session based on your usual training night and they are open to all your members and junior parents not just Covid Officers or Committee Members. We want to ensure that all our members understand the protocols in place and are comfortable returning to play. If you are unable to attend the session you are allocated, you can of course attend another session.

Please ensure all members of your club are advised of this update and thank you for your continued patience until we can safely indoor netball activity.