19 January 2021
AquaTex Waterpolo has received updated guidance regarding physical distancing during training. We will resume full-contact training as of 18 January 2021. Athletes whose families prefer they maintain physical distancing rules will be accommodated. What follows are policies and protocols that will inform our training until such time as the policies are no longer necessary.
This document will be updated as needed.
- All athletes must have a current/valid registration with USA Water Polo. (Minimum Bronze level)
- All athletes must log on to www.usawaterpolo.org and electronically sign the “COVID-19 Return to Play Release and Waiver” form
- All athletes must be registered AquaTex Waterpolo for the current season through our Team Unify website.
- Masks must be worn at all times until entering the water.
- Masks will not be provided by AquaTex. Athletes must bring their own masks to practice.
- Locker rooms will be off limits for athletes. Athletes will be required to show up to practice in their suits. No deck changing.
- No parents or spectators will be allowed on the pool deck.
- Coaches will wear masks when athletes and/or other coaches are on the deck. They may remove masks in order to communicate clearly when the athletes are in the pool.
- Athletes will be maintaining social distancing at any time they are not participating in tasks or drills that specifically require physical contact such as, but not limited to, live scrimmaging.
- Coaches will be planning practices that include physical contact beginning Monday, January 18, 2021.
- No athlete is required to make physical contact or break physical distancing guidelines if they or their parents/guardians choose not to.
- Coaches will accommodate and plan for athletes who choose not to engage in physical contact.
- There will be no loitering around the facility before or after practice. Athletes must come to practice, train, then leave.
- No showers or water fountains. Bring your own water
- Restrooms are for emergency use only and only one person at a time is allowed in the restroom.
- No physical contact with others such as shaking hands, high-fiving or hanging on the pool wall
next to each other – remain socially distant when taking a break.
- Prior to any AquaTex Waterpolo event or activity each athlete and coach should ask the following questions as recommended by the CDC. An affirmative answer to any of these questions will prohibit an person from entering the facility.
- Have you experienced any of the following in the past 48 hours?
- fever or chills
- persistent cough
- a body temperature in excess of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- persistent fatigue
- muscle or body aches
- new loss of taste or smell
- sore throat
- congestion or runny nose
- nausea or vomiting
- Within the past 14 days, have you been in close physical contact (6 feet or closer for at least 15 minutes) with a person who is known to have laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 or with anyone who has any symptoms consistent with COVID-19?
- Are you isolating or quarantining because you may have been exposed to a person with COVID-19 or are worried that you may be sick with COVID-19?
- Are you currently waiting on the results of a COVID-19 test?
- Have you experienced any of the following in the past 48 hours?
- Athletes will be monitored by coaches to ensure social distancing is maintained whenever appropriate.
- We will follow Center for Disease Control guidelines regarding exposure to Covid-19 and quarantine requirements for all our athletes and coaches.
- We ask that all athletes and parents maintain flexibility. The coaching staff is constantly monitoring the COVID-19 news reports and statistics, and will adjust the practice plan based on reports and local, state, and federal mandates.
In keeping with our general philosophy of Be Your Best we are asking all our families to commit to minimizing any risk to our athletes and coaches by maintaining the Covid-19 guidelines set by Williamson County and the State of Texas outside the training and competition environment as well (wear a mask). Communicate with coaches if for any reason you believe your presence at practice will put others at risk. We are fortunate to have only had one case confirmed among our membership since March 2020, and that person had not been to practice for several weeks prior to the diagnosis and has not been to practice since then.
The Case for Resuming Full-contact Training
AquaTex Waterpolo is acknowledged to likely be the first USA Water Polo-affiliated club to resume training after the outbreak of Covid-19 in early 2020. The club has been practicing uninterrupted since May 18, 2020. However, practices have been limited given that physical contact between and among athletes has not been allowed.
What follows is the case presented to resume full-contact training. This plea is based on the precedent of other clubs in Texas, the rules under which other contact sports are allowed to train according to the UIL, and USA Water Polo’s robust Covid-19 waiver in which all signatories accept that USAWP clubs and its officers are not liable for any potential transmission of the disease during training.
University Interscholastic League
As of July of 2020 the UIL began giving explicit permission for athletes in individual sports to train in physical contact with one another. Some relevant excerpts:
Sport Specific Instruction
Competitive drills involving one or more students on offense against one or more students on defense may be conducted beginning July 13, 2020. While conducting these drills, schools must require all students not actively exercising and staff to wear face coverings as described above.
Requirements for All Workouts
Exceptions to the wearing of face coverings or face shields include:
A. Any person with a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering;
B. While a person is consuming food or drink;
C. While the person is in a pool, lake, or similar body of water. [Emphasis added]
Q: May athletes participate in one on one drill or work or competitive group drill work? (Example: 3 on 3 basketball, 7 on 7, soccer scrimmaging, baseball/softball inter-squad?
A: Competitive drills involving one or more students on offense against one or more students on defense may be conducted beginning July 13, 2020. [Emphasis added]
Q: For swimming, may more than one swimmer swim in a lane?
A: Yes, more than one swimmer is allowed per lane.
USA Water Polo
Every member of AquaTex Waterpolo was required to sign a legally binding Covid-19 Release and Waiver upon returning to training in mid-May 2020 and again upon re-registering for annual USA Water Polo membership on or before January 1, 2021. By doing so each family and athlete acknowledge that clubs are allowed to publish their own training and contact policies as permitted by their local jurisdiction.
Texas Water Polo Clubs Currently Practicing with Full Contact
North Texas Thunder Water Polo Club
Tenants of the LISD Westside Aquatic Center (and other area facilities), Thunder was given permission by the ISD to begin full-contact training in September 2020 after the UIL decision to allow such contact in other sports training, football in particular. The club announced the decision to its athletes and families who were informed that by attending training sessions the family accepted the inherent risks as spelled out by USA Water Polo in its Release and Waiver.
Pegasus Water Polo Academy, Dallas
Southern Methodist University gave permission to Pegasus to resume full-contact training in late 2020 after the club submitted a formal letter requesting it. In that letter, club leadership laid out the guidelines they would follow regarding Covid-19 and cited a Dutch study asserting that the risk of transmission in competitive settings is miniscule.
Southside Honey Badgers Water Polo Club, Pearland
The Swim Houston Aquatic Center gave permission to Southside to resume full-contact water polo training in late 2020. To practice at that facility the club requires each family to accept and sign three documents: a club-wide Code of Conduct, a club-specific COVID Practice Structure and Requirements document, and a general waiver provided by SHAC to all those who use the facility.
The Pearland Recreation Center & Natatorium has also allowed the club full-contact training though the terms of that agreement are unclear. The club will resume doing so in late January 2021.
As does every USA Water Polo-registered athlete, the club’s are all required to sign the Covid-19 Release and Waiver detailed above.
CONI, Comitato Italiano Paralimpio, Politecnico di Torino. (2020). Rapporto: Lo Sport Riparte in Sicurezza. Versione 1 del 26/04/2020
Hoepelman, Andy IM (MD, PhD). (2020). Risk of acquisition of SARS-COV 2 (Corona virus) during Waterpolo games is negligible. June 23, 2020.
Austin, Travis County: Covid-19, Risk-based Guidelines.