Interschools Update - 21 May

Snow Australia Interschools continues to review the gradual easing of State-specific Covid-19 restrictions and a possible return to sport at a school/community/club level. What that means for our sport in particular and our winter season in general is still very much an open-ended question. We remain optimistic that there will be a snow season in some form, but there is little doubt that when it does eventuate, it will be unlike anything we have experienced before. We continue to work with our resorts, schools, and community to ensure we are prepared and open to all possibilities.

2020 Snow Season

While the easing of restrictions is an obvious positive step towards a snow season, there are clear challenges the industry has to address with State and Federal health authorities in order to gain the necessary approvals to opening resorts. Limitations on things like traditional staff accommodation arrangements, communal living and the absence of international staff will see resorts and programs limited in capacity to varying degrees. It will impact each resort differently and in turn impact the operation of programs and events. We will need to remain flexible and fluid in how we approach these aspects which directly impact our sport.

The NSW Resorts and Snowy Mountains Region have submitted their 2020 winter operations plan to the NSW Government and NSW Department of Health, and we await their decision on season 2020. We anticipate that the NSW Resorts will be in a position to clarify operational capacities by early June at the latest.

School, Club & Program COVID safe guidelines

In anticipation of the season, Snow Australia is working to develop a set of guidelines for school/clubs/programs in regard to COVID safe operations. This resource is being developed in alignment with the AIS Return to Sport protocols and in collaboration with the Sports Medical Officer, our own program staff and resort operators. It is designed to provide school/club/programs with a resource to develop their own COVID safe operational plans inside their specific resort environment. This resource will be completed in the coming weeks. It will require patience and at times will be frustrating as we work to implement evolving guidelines in a manner which is both safe and practical from a community perspective.

To return to sport more quickly, the AIS and Sport Australia encourages athletes and fans alike to download the #COVIDSafe app to help authorities find and contain any outbreaks, while keeping Australia safe.

Interschools Events Calendar

The uncertainty of the 2020 season format means that it is difficult to confirm our late July, August and September Interschools event calendar with any confidence at this point in time. Snow Australia Interschools is currently working with each resort to understand their capacity and appetite to host events should a winter season eventuate. This will ultimately come down to available resources, expertise and consideration of any restrictions that may be in place in terms of large gatherings and/or risk management requirements involving snow sports activities. Similar to Snow Australia program operations, Interschools event operations will be on a resort by resort and discipline by discipline basis. We are also in discussion with the NSW Department of School Education, as well as other school systems, on their phased approach to the re-introduction of sporting activities in alignment with relevant State Government guidelines.

Click Here for current NSW Department of Education Sport and Physical Activity Guidelines.

We anticipate that following the upcoming announcement on winter season 2020 from the NSW Government, the roadmap for Interschool Snowsports Events will be more easily charted, and we are prepared for all possibilities. We will host a webinar prior to the end of Term 2 to further update schools regarding Interschools events.

Qualification of Events

We acknowledge that many schools are interested to know what qualification rules will be in place for the State and/or National event due to the cancellation of the Northern NSW, QLD and Sydney Championships. We are exploring several scenarios based on what operational restrictions could look like but await further announcements from the NSW Government, health authorities and resorts.