Updated COVID-19 Protocols Available

Following recent Government announcements we have updated the Republic of Ireland protocols, which we expect to be in place until approximately February 2022.

Northern Ireland protocols are currently being revised and will be published shortly.

COVID-19 Protocols ROI ODT / COVID-19 Protocols ROI PDF (updated 11 November 2021)

COVID-19 Declaration Form ROI (updated 3 September 2021)

COVID-19 Protocols NI ODT / COVID-19 Protocols NI PDF (updated 6 September 2021)

COVID-19 Declaration Form NI (updated 6 September 2021)

Close Contact Guidance (updated 22 November 2021)

International Travel Guidance PDF (updated 3 September 2021)

COVID-19 Officer

COVID-19 Officer

Any person intending to take on the role of COVID-19 Officer or Lead COVID-19 Officer can complete this training online, in their own time via our COVID-19 Officer e-Learning Course.

Complete e-Learning Course

COVID-19 Protocols for Republic of Ireland clubs

Introduction

The Government and Sport Ireland have published updated guidance to National Governing Bodies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic our clubs, volunteers, athletes, and parents/ carers have worked diligently to keep themselves and others safe by adhering to the COVID-19 protocols. In our efforts to keep aquatic sports going we are asking you to review the risk assessments you have in place and remind your club members to continue:

  • Practising good hygiene
  • Observe social distancing
  • Wear face coverings
  • And avoid attending training if they feel unwell

These measures will enable clubs to continue to run their training sessions, and to host or attend competitions throughout the winter months whilst continuing to operate within best safeguarding practices.

General Overview
  • Where car-pooling or public transport is being used individuals must take protective measures such as wearing face coverings.
  • A register of attendance is required for every session for contact tracing and safeguarding purposes. The coach on duty must also have access to emergency contact details for all participants.
  • Clubs must have a COVID-19 Officer on duty at every training session (COVID-19 Officer requirements). Clubs with under 18’s must have a person on duty. One person may fulfil both roles if they meet the COVID-19 Officer requirements. In adult only clubs/ sessions the coach or a nominated athlete may act as the COVID-19 officer as part of their normal duties/ activities if they meet the COVID-19 Officer requirements.
EU Digital COVID Certificate
  • The EU Digital COVID Certificate (DCC) is proof (in digital or paper format) that you have either:
  • been vaccinated against COVID-19 or
  • received a negative COVID-19 test result (RT-PCR valid for 72 hours, Antigen valid for 48 hours)
  • recovered from COVID-19 in the last 6 months
  • Individuals vaccinated in Northern Ireland or Great Britain, who are over 18 and hold a valid
  • Individuals from Northern Ireland may also present their COVID-19 certificate as proof of immunity (vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19).
  • For more information on the DCC go to the Gov.ie website.
  • The use of the DCC or NI COVID-19 certificate will be required for accessing indoor sporting activities and events.
  • All club members attending training sessions, including athletes, coaches, COVID-19 officer, persons of duty etc. are required to complete and return the updated declaration form to their club by Friday 17th September, to enable clubs to best plan their ongoing training programme. This is a once off form that will remove the requirement for daily self-report screening forms.
  • In line with GDPR best practise the declaration forms should be held until 30th October 2021, after which time they should be safely and securely destroyed.
  • Declaration forms can be administered in paper or online format (online recommended).
  • Club members over 18 in ROI will be asked to indicate their COVID-19 immunity status.
  • Club members from NI attending training or events in ROI will be required to provide proof of immunity.
  • COVID-19 immunity is defined on www.gov.ie as fully vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 within previous 6 months.
  • Your HSE Vaccination Card or your EU Digital COVID Certificate (provides proof of recovery and vaccination) is acceptable as proof of immunity. Facilities and clubs may also ask for Photo ID for verification purposes.
  • If club members (over 18) do not disclose their immunity status these members must be treated as not being immune and the club should follow mixed immunity protocols.
  • Clubs should engage with their facility in advance to understand their procedures and advise members of any changes.
  • Club members under 18 may be asked for proof of age by their facility, this should be agreed with facility in advance if required.
Club Activity (Swimming)
  • Clubs should engage with their facility in advance to understand and agree procedures for the club. Members should be advised of any changes.
  • Social distancing must be maintained, and face coverings worn when swimmers and coaches are not engaged in activity, i.e., while on poolside, changing rooms etc.
  • Clubs and coaches must communicate any change to the current set up with their swimmers in advance.
  • Personal training equipment must not be shared with others and must be clearly labelled.
  • Shared equipment such as diving blocks must be cleaned between swimmers using them (chlorinated water will suffice).

Under 18’s

  • Clubs must conduct a risk assessment to decide how many swimmers are suitable to be in each lane. This may vary between squad and sessions depending on:
    • Age of athletes
    • Ability of athletes
    • No. of coaches on deck
    • Type of session
    • Length of pool
    • Width of lanes
  • Where all swimmers can provide DCC clubs should follow full immunity protocols.
  • Where swimmers have mixed immunity status clubs must follow mixed immunity protocols.

Over 18’s

Full immunity (all swimmers)

Clubs must conduct a risk assessment to decide how many swimmers are suitable to be in each lane. This may vary between squad and sessions depending on:

  • Age of athletes
  • Ability of athletes
  • No. of coaches on deck
  • Type of session
  • Length of pool
  • Width of lanes

Mixed immunity

Clubs must operate on the following protocols:

  • 20 metre pool – option 1: 2 pods of 3, option 2: 1 pod of 6
  • 25 metre pool – option 1: 2 pods of 4, option 2: 1 pod of 6
  • 50 metre pool – option 1: 2 pods of 5, option 2: 1 pod of 6
Club Activity (Water Polo)
  • Clubs must engage with their facility in advance to understand and agree procedures for the club. Members must be advised of any changes.
  • Social distancing must be maintained, and face coverings worn when players coaches and officials are not engaged in activity, i.e., while on poolside, changing rooms etc.
  • Bench Officials must always wear a face covering.
  • Referees are permitted to remove their face covering during match play but must wear a face covering at all other times.
  • Personal training equipment must not be shared with others and must be clearly labelled.

Under 18’s

  • Skills and drills training activities should be practiced in pods of 6.
  • Competitive Games (Matches) and competitive intra club activities may continue.
  • The use of the pod system for more frequent skills and drills training activities will assist in minimising the overall risk and facilitate contact tracing.
  • Under 18’s are not required to present DCC for training and match play.

Over 18’s

  • Where all players can present a DCC contact training and match play are permitted.
  • Where players cannot present a DCC, skills and drills must be practiced in pods of 6 (no contact or competition permitted).

Match play

  • Where players are under 18, match play is permitted, DCC is not required.
  • Where players are over 18 and can provide a DCC, match play is permitted.
  • Where players are over 18 and cannot provide a DCC, match play is not permitted.
  • All players over 18 from Northern Ireland, playing a match in the Republic of Ireland must present their DDC or NI COVID-19 certificate.
  • Social distancing must be maintained, and face coverings worn when players coaches and officials are not engaged in match play activity, i.e., while on poolside, changing rooms etc.
  • Face coverings can be removed at the start of a match and held by the Assistant Coach/Team Manager during activity.
  • COVID-19 compliance at all National League and Regional Competitions is the responsibility of each individual club.
  • COVID-19 compliance during a National Cup Competition is the responsibility of the Tournament Director/COVID-19 Officer.
Club Activity (Diving)
  • Clubs must engage with their facility in advance to understand and agree procedures for the club. Members must be advised of any changes.
  • Social distancing must be maintained, and face coverings worn when divers and coaches are not engaged in activity, i.e., while on poolside, changing rooms etc.
  • Clubs and coaches must communicate any change to the current set up with their swimmers in advance.
  • Shared equipment such as diving platforms must be cleaned between divers using them (spray bottle with chlorinated water is recommended).
  • Where divers are over 18 and are mixed, i.e., not all have proof of immunity, pods of 6 divers must be implemented.
Club Activity (Open Water Swimming)
  • There are no restrictions on outdoor group activities
  • Swimmers must continue to exercise caution both in relation to COVID-19 and open water swimming when engaging in open water swimming
Competitions
  • Clubs must engage with their facility in advance to understand and agree procedures for the club, including requirement to present DCC and identification.
  • All clubs/ individuals over 18 from Northern Ireland attending competitions in the Republic of Ireland must present their DDC or COVID-19 certificate.
  • Competition organisers must appoint a COVID-19 Officer for the duration of the event. The COVID-19 Officer must be present throughout the competition.
  • Clubs attending a competition are not required to bring a nominated COVID-19 Officer.
  • Competition organisers should notify all attending clubs in advance of the following:
    1. COVID-19 Officer on duty
    2. Warm up protocols
    3. Access to facility arrangements
    4. Allocated team areas
    5. Line up/ call room arrangements
  • Competition organisers must conduct a risk assessment in advance to ensure adequate space is provided for athletes, coaches and supporting personnel.
  • Warm up protocols must be put in place to minimise risk to athletes. Staggering of warm up times, allocating lanes to individual clubs, swimmers per lane should be limited to a maximum of 6.
  • Where competition organisers have limited spectator space available, priority must be given to appropriate support personnel in line with safe supervision guidelines (under 12 years 8:1, 12 and over 10:1, adult: child ratio). Support personnel must meet their role requirements and include but are not limited to:
    1. Coach
    2. Team Manager
    3. Parent/ carer in the absence of coach and team manager
  • Face coverings must be worn by all individuals, including but not limited to coaches, team managers, officials, spectators, athletes.
  • Athletes may remove their face covering when engaged in warm up activities or when competing. Face coverings must be worn in line up area/ call room and until swimmer is at the starting block.
  • Social distancing must be maintained, and it is the responsibility of each visiting club to manage their own athletes.
Spectators
  • Clubs and event organisers must engage with their facility to agree how spectator access will be managed.
  • Clubs and event organisers may choose to limit the number of spectators permitted based on their risk assessment. Priority should be given to athletes and qualified support personnel.
  • Spectators must familiarise themselves with Swim Ireland’s Spectator Behaviour Policy in advance of attending an event or training session.
  • Spectators (over 18) must present their DCC to access an event or training session. Facilities and clubs may also ask for Photo ID for verification purposes.
  • Accompanied minors (under 18) are not required to present their DCC to access an event.
  • Unaccompanied minors (under 18) are required to present their DCC to access an event.
  • Spectators must be fully seated and wear face coverings. Parents/ carers have a responsibility to ensure minors remain seated and wear face coverings (where required).
  • The use of wristbands to facilitate repeated entry and exit of the facility is recommended to manage flow of spectators through the entries and exits.
  • Swimming lesson providers can revert to pre-COVID-19 procedures, based on a 3-metre squared per swimmer bather load calculation and must risk assess accordingly.
  • All lesson capacities must be based on a facility specific risk assessment considering the change in protocols for under 18’s and over 18’s.
  • Social distancing is not required for children under 18 whilst participating in the swimming lessons.
  • Swimming teachers who can provide proof of immunity may work in closer proximity with swimmers.
  • Teachers who cannot provide proof of immunity must remain 2m socially distanced and continue teaching from the pool deck.
  • It is recommended that any lessons returning for the first-time following closures should have a water safety focus for the first few weeks. Lessons should focus specifically on core aquatic skills rather than stroke specific.
  • Facilities are advised to continue staggered start times to ensure customers can move easily around the facilities whilst socially distanced.
  • Lesson providers should continue to have a COVID-19 Officer on duty at all times. This individual can now also be responsible for teaching a class.
Swimming Lessons
  • Swimming lesson providers can revert to pre-COVID-19 procedures, based on a 3-metre squared per swimmer bather load calculation and must risk assess accordingly.
  • All lesson capacities must be based on a facility specific risk assessment considering the protocols for under 18’s and over 18’s.
  • Social distancing is not required for children under 18 whilst participating in the swimming lessons.
  • Swimming teachers who can present a DCC may work in closer proximity with swimmers.
  • Teachers who cannot present a DCC must remain 2m socially distanced and continue teaching from the pool deck.
  • Facilities are advised to continue staggered start times to ensure customers can move easily around the facilities whilst socially distanced.
  • Lesson providers must continue to have a COVID-19 Officer on duty at all times.
Facility Guidance

General

  • Most risk in facility/pool setting is linked to time spent out of the pool (arrival, registration, changing, showering, exiting etc.) compared to time spent in the pool. Clubs and individuals must minimise their time out of the pool, limit interactions, remove potential for congestion etc.
  • Where possible, a one-way system should be implemented for transit through the facility (facility dependent)
  • Access to changing rooms is permitted, with protective measures in place, such as wearing face coverings and maintaining social distancing (facility dependent)


Entry and exit

  • Clubs should formulate a staggered entry and exit system with their participants.
  • Sufficient buffer time should be planned between different participants entering & exiting facility.
  • Adhere to social distancing requirements on entry and exit.
  • Avoid loitering or congregating at facility entrance.
  • On entry & exit, individuals should use the hand sanitizer provided.


Changing Rooms and Showers

  • Where possible participants should arrive ready to train, with swimwear on underneath clothes.
  • Transit through changing rooms should be staggered and social distancing should be adhered to.
  • COVID-19 officer must ensure shower protocols are fully communicated to all members where facility is allowing the use of showers
  • Clubs should engage with their facilities to agree a well-managed, appropriate, and safe use of changing rooms.
Face Coverings
  • COVID-19 is mainly spread through close contact and droplets that come from your nose and mouth. For example, when you cough, sneeze, or talk loudly. Wearing a face covering reduces the spread of these droplets and aerosols. It also helps stop the spread of the virus from people who may not know they have it.
  • Face coverings are not recommended for children under the age of 13, but some children may choose to wear one.
  • Any individual (13 years +) entering a facility must wear a face covering until they at the side of the pool and ready to commence training/ competition. Some facilities may require all individuals to wear face coverings. Contact your facility in advance to ensure you understand their requirements.
  • Coaches should wear face coverings until all participants have entered the water.
  • All persons on deck to wear face coverings until all participants have entered the water.
  • Participants must wear a face covering if leaving the pool to use the toilet etc.
  • It is recommended that participants bring a small zip lock or clip seal bag with their name printed on to store their face covering whilst in the pool.

COVID-19 Protocols for Northern Ireland clubs

Introduction

Thanks to our clubs’ diligence and adherence to COVID-19 protocols, along with the high uptake of COVID-19 vaccines throughout the country we can now look forward to a return to full training and competition soon. Clubs should continue to maintain a high level of vigilance and caution by encouraging club members to continue practising good hygiene and avoid attending training if they feel unwell.

Club committees, coaches, teachers, and COVID-19 officers should review this document and supporting information and contact their club support officer with any questions they may have. The following protocols will come into effect from 20th September.

General Overview
  • Where car-pooling or public transport is being used individuals should take protective measures such as wearing face coverings.
  • A register of attendance is required for every session for contact tracing and safeguarding purposes. The coach on duty should also have access to emergency contact details for all participants
  • Clubs must have a COVID-19 Officer on duty at every training session. Clubs with under 18’s must have a person on duty. One person may fulfil both of these roles if they meet the COVID-19 Officer requirements. In adult only clubs/ sessions the coach or a nominated athlete may act as the COVID-19 officer as part of their normal duties/ activities if they meet the COVID-19 Officer requirements.
  • Social distancing requirements have been reduced from 2 metres to 1 metre for indoor training and events.
Declaration form and proof of immunity
  • All club members attending training sessions, including athletes, coaches, COVID-19 officer, persons of duty etc. are required to complete and return the updated declaration form to their club by Friday 17th September, to enable clubs to best plan their ongoing training programme. This is a once off form that will remove the requirement for daily self-report screening forms.
  • Declaration forms can be administered in paper or online format (online recommended).
  • Club members from NI (over 18’s only) attending training or events in ROI will be required to provide proof of immunity.
  • COVID-19 immunity is defined on www.gov.ie as fully vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 within previous 6 months.
  • Your COVID-19 certificate is acceptable as proof of immunity. Facilities and clubs may also ask for Photo ID for verification purposes.
  • Clubs should engage with their facility in advance to understand their procedures and advise members of any changes.


Download Declaration Form

Club Activity (Swimming)

The following protocols are effective from 20th September.

Clubs should engage with their facility in advance to understand and agree procedures for the club. Members should be advised of any changes.

  • Social distancing (at least 1 metre) should be maintained when swimmers are not engaged in activity, i.e., while on poolside, changing rooms etc.
  • Social distancing is not required whilst in the swimming pool. Clubs should conduct a risk assessment to decide how many swimmers are suitable to be in each lane. This may vary between squad and sessions depending on:
  1. Age of athletes
  2. Ability of athletes
  3. No. of coaches on deck
  4. Type of session
  5. Length of pool
  6. Width of lanes
  • Clubs and coaches should communicate any change to the current set up with their swimmers in advance.
  • Personal training equipment should not be shared with others and should be clearly labelled.
  • Shared equipment such as diving blocks should be cleaned between swimmers using them (chlorinated water will suffice).
Club Activity (Water Polo)

The following protocols are effective from 20th September.

Clubs should engage with their facility in advance to understand and agree procedures for the club. Members should be advised of any changes.

  • Social distancing (at least 1 metre) should be maintained when swimmers are not engaged in activity, i.e., while on poolside, changing rooms etc.
  • Contact training and match play is permitted.
  • All players over 18 from Northern Ireland, playing a match in the Republic of Ireland must provide proof of immunity to the facility.
Club Activity (Diving)

The following protocols are effective from 20th September.

Clubs should engage with their facility in advance to understand and agree procedures for the club. Members should be advised of any changes.

  • Social distancing (at least 1 metre) should be maintained when swimmers are not engaged in activity, i.e., while on poolside, changing rooms etc.
  • Shared equipment such as diving platforms should be cleaned between divers using them (chlorinated water will suffice).
Club Activity (Open Water Swimming)

The following protocols are effective from 20th September onwards.

  • Restrictions on outdoor group activities for participants will be removed.
  • Swimmers should continue to exercise caution both in relation to COVID-19 and open water swimming when engaging in open water swimming.
Swimming Lessons
  • Swimming lesson providers can revert to pre-COVID-19 procedures, based on a 3-metre squared per swimmer bather load calculation and must risk assess accordingly.
  • All lesson capacities must be based on a facility specific risk assessment.
  • Swimming teachers may now work in closer proximity with swimmers but should continue to take protective measures.
  • It is recommended that any lessons returning for the first-time following closures should have a water safety focus for the first few weeks. Lessons should focus specifically on core aquatic skills rather than stroke specific.
  • Facilities are advised to continue staggered start times to ensure customers can move easily around the facilities whilst socially distanced.
  • Lesson providers should continue to have a COVID-19 Officer on duty at all times. This individual can now also be responsible for teaching a class.
Facility Guidance

General

  • Most risk in facility/pool setting is linked to time spent out of the pool (arrival, registration, changing, showering, exiting etc.) compared to time spent in the pool. Clubs and individuals should minimise their time out of the pool, limit interactions, remove potential for congestion etc.
  • Where possible, a one-way system should be implemented for transit through the facility (facility dependent)
  • Access to changing rooms is permitted, with protective measures in place, such as wearing face coverings and maintaining social distancing (facility dependent)
  • Spectator numbers are determined by a risk assessment carried out by each facility. Clubs should engage with their facility to understand their specific requirements.

Entry and exit

  • Clubs should formulate a staggered entry and exit system with their participants.
  • Sufficient buffer time should be planned between different participants entering & exiting facility.
  • Adhere to social distancing requirements (at least 1 metre) on entry and exit.
  • Avoid loitering or congregating at facility entrance.
  • On entry & exit, individuals should use the hand sanitizer provided.

Changing Rooms and Showers

  • Where possible participants should arrive ready to train, with swimwear on underneath clothes.
  • Transit through changing rooms should be staggered and social distancing should be adhered to.
  • COVID-19 officer should ensure shower protocols are fully communicated to all members where facility is allowing the use of showers
  • Clubs should engage with their facilities to agree a well-managed, appropriate, and safe use of changing rooms.
Face Coverings
  • COVID-19 is mainly spread through close contact and droplets that come from your nose and mouth. For example, when you cough, sneeze, or talk loudly. Wearing a face covering reduces the spread of these droplets and aerosols. It also helps stop the spread of the virus from people who may not know they have it.
  • Face coverings are not recommended for children under the age of 13, but some children may choose to wear one.
  • Any individual (13 years +) entering a facility should wear a face covering until they are ready to commence training. Some facilities may require all individuals to wear face coverings. Contact your facility in advance to ensure you understand their requirements.
  • All persons on deck to wear face coverings until all participants have entered the water.
  • Participants should wear a face covering if leaving the pool to use the toilet etc.
  • It is recommended that participants bring a small zip lock or clip seal bag with their name printed on to store their face covering whilst in the pool.