Opening outdoor track and field facilities is at the discretion and consent of the facility owner, provider or contractor.
On 15 June I submitted our request to the senior leadership team at Stratford School including the Head teacher to use the track and included all the documentation that went beyond what was required.
After chivvying this week I had a reply on Tuesday 23rd June from the school:
“We are aware you are keen to get back to training but we are having to manage multiple issues currently and deploy staff and resources as necessary to control potential Covid 19 infection make provision for students to get back to school as guidance changes almost on a weekly basis. I regret this has to be our main priority at this time and we are taking a cautious and proportionate approach to the reopening of facilities.
Any return of public use of the facilities and control of those users is not possible currently but we will keep this under review”.
We have to remember that schools are under unprecedented pressure to get the schools back to working as near to normal as soon as possible and there’s a need to understand the climate they are working in. However, I then spent a good part of Tuesday playing email tennis and trying to convince the school that our track record of managing the club properly and safely over many years is unsurpassed and the documentation that we have produced does everything possible to avoid the spread of Covid-19 to not just club members and their families, school pupils and staff but everyone else in the community.
We came up with many, many different suggestions but after a last throw of the suggestions and ideas dice I received the following:
“I understand the disappointment but this (decision) has nothing to do with the hard work and thought which you and everyone else has put into the potential return to training which is thorough and gives us a lot of confidence that you can manage the situation effectively.
We were awaiting today’s relaxation of lockdown guidance issued by the Government to see if this had any impact upon the use of sports facilities which regrettably it did not.
People may get frustrated but please appreciate we are dealing with a significant number of issues right now to get the school back into some semblance of face to face education for our students, which is equally frustrating, and we do understand the desire of the club to resume training which is why I gave an assurance that we would review this to see if we could action some return to the facility soon. However we do need some time to consider this and ensure our operational procedures and safety management systems are also updated and able to be delivered.
Everyone needs to understand that these are very exceptional times and there are many competing demands on everyone’s time right now. I will re-iterate to the club what I said to my own Head teacher and Governors. Whilst we would all like to get back to normal as soon as possible this virus is a killer and the safety of the public, staff and students in controlling the virus remains our and the wider publics overriding responsibility. We review all our actions almost on a daily basis and take proportionate steps to manage getting our students and customers back fully using our facilities.
I would respectfully request that people give us time to do this and see the wider picture”.
My reply was :
“Thanks for your response and like the school your appreciation and understanding of just how serious we too take our role in supporting all aspects of our young (and older) people’s wellbeing.
It’s fully understood the situation the school is in and by virtue of our leadership group including teachers, school administrators, NHS volunteers, carers etc. and indeed the Stratford Mayor ,Cllr Tony Jackson, we are fully aware of our responsibilities to act with caution and in the best interests of not just our athletes, their families and ourselves but also the wider community to ensure, as best we can, we curtail getting or spreading this noxious virus.
We look forward to hearing from you in due course”.
We are now in limbo and as disappointing and frustrating as this is the school have acknowledged our return to training is on their agenda and in due course they’ll let us know when we can resume training. I will continue to keep the issue live including updating the school as EA guidelines are revised.
In the meantime the AGLs will continue to review home training activities and some athletes are using the facilities at Nuneaton and Redditch. I’m also talking to Warwick DC to find out about access to the Leamington track.
If you have any questions about this Juniors can email me and Seniors can email Paul Hawkins.
I’ll update everyone as soon as I hear anything
Stay safe and keep active